The three to six months before your surgery are very important ones. You’ll have pre-admission tests and screenings through your surgeon’s office, but you’ll also be mentally and physically preparing for your procedure on your own. The steps you take will help you have the best experience possible during and after surgery, and create healthier habits for life.
Smoking and using tobacco and nicotine products have been shown to greatly increase the risk of complications during and after bariatric surgery. And, if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Alcohol is high in calories. After your procedure, your body will process it differently and the intoxicating effects can greatly increase. After surgery, just one drink (defined as a 12-ounce beer, five-ounce glass of wine, or two ounces of hard liquor) could impair your ability to drive. You may be able to consume alcohol in moderation after your weight has stabilized, but it is better for your health to cut it out completely.
Aim to drink 64 ounces of water every day and limit other beverages. Eliminate caffeinated, sweetened, and carbonated drinks. You will need to stop drinking liquids with meals and not drink half an hour before and after eating.
Even if you aren’t physically active because of your weight, it’s important to start exercising now. Begin slowly with a plan that fits your physical abilities and do it consistently. As you lose weight, it will be easier to increase the intensity and amount of exercise you can do.
Preoperative weight loss helps minimize complications by shrinking the liver and making it easier for your surgeon to access the surgical area. An enlarged liver can cause your surgery to be postponed.
Start thinking about food as fuel for your new healthier lifestyle. Focus on enjoying healthy food and not eating while doing other activities like watching television or using a computer. Avoid emotional eating when you’re angry or upset.
You’ll be in the hospital for one to three days, depending on your procedure and your recovery. The week before surgery, make sure you’re ready for your in-home recovery: Fill all prescriptions, have vitamin and nutritional supplements and post-op food and drinks ready, and arrange for rides to and from the hospital.
The day before your surgery, pack a bag with the personal items you’ll need at the hospital, including clothing, glasses, reading materials, and medications. Include insurance documents and any educational materials your surgeon gave you. Be sure you leave valuables at home.
After you’re released from the hospital, you should be able to take care of needs like personal hygiene, but you will need help with tasks like driving, lifting, and taking care of children and pets. In the weeks following surgery, your focus should be on resting and healing.
As individual surgery experience results vary, the information above is intended to be general in nature. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions and guidance for your own procedure.