Bariatric Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

Sample Diet Advancement Timeline

*individual recommendations may be based on tolerance

How often do I need to follow up?

You are scheduled to see our bariatric team for an initial assessment, pre-op class, and follow-up every 4-6 weeks for 6 months after surgery. Your Surgeon will see you at your initial consult and post-op at weeks 2, 6, 3-month, 6-month and 1 year. Program visits may also be scheduled as phone follow-ups. Committing to your follow-up appointments is the key to your success. If you have concerns that would prevent you from making your appointments, please share them with our bariatric coordinator.

I have completed all my tests and labs, when will I know my surgery date?

During this time, procedure and lab results are being reviewed by your bariatric team. Approval from your insurance is actively being perused by our schedule coordinators. The average time is about 2 weeks. We will contact you for any concerns and when you have been approved. Please be patient and keep working towards your weight loss goals.

When can I go back to work after bariatric surgery?

Your discharge instructions recommend no heavy lifting greater than 20 pounds for 4-6 weeks. When you return for your two-week follow-up appointment after surgery, your ability to return to work will be addressed. Depending on your type of work, you may be cleared after two weeks.

Where do I buy vitamin and mineral supplements?

Your Bariatric binder includes a detailed list of over-the-counter vitamin options. For your convenience, we have vitamins for sale in our office. You will need to take these after the first follow-up visit and for the rest of your life, every day, to avoid serious nutrient deficiencies. The vitamins and minerals you need to take every day include Multivitamin with Iron, Calcium Citrate (1000mg for sleeve, 1500mg for gastric bypass) with Vitamin D (take 2 hours apart from Iron). Vitamin B12. Calcium must say calcium CITRATE, not carbonate or phosphate.

Why do I have to stop smoking before bariatric surgery?

Smoking leads to complications during and after surgery. We want you to be successful with your decision to have weight loss surgery and eliminate any unhealthy habits that would not lead to improving your health and lifestyle.

Will I lose my hair after bariatric surgery? Can I prevent hair loss?

Hair thinning can occur due to nutrient changes in your body. Meeting your protein goal, in addition to vitamin and mineral supplements, each day can help. Hair loss is usually noted three months after surgery and after seven months regrowth begins. Not everyone has hair loss and for those who do, it is temporary. Recommendations for taking a hair-skin-nail vitamin or biotin may be suggested by your doctor.

When can I go home after bariatric surgery?

Most patients have a one-night stay. You will not be discharged until your medical team is comfortable that you can tolerate small sips of water and protein supplements. Do NOT force this process; we want to discharge you home so you can be successful with your new knowledge and habits from your decision to have weight loss surgery.

Is bariatric surgery painful?

Immediately after surgery, you will have a different feeling. The most common symptom is abdominal swelling/discomfort and gas pressure in your shoulders. During surgery, you were intubated (a breathing tube placed down your windpipe) and sometimes after surgery, you will feel a sore or have a hoarse throat-this should resolve. Most patients don’t use their liquid pain medication by the time they arrive home from the hospital. If you have ANY breathing difficulty, notify your medical team immediately or call 911 if you are at home. Walk and maintain hydration and sip protein supplement frequently. Remember, your surgery affects how food travels in your digestive system and your satiety (feeling of feeling full). You are going to feel different. Time, patience, and knowledge will help you be successful and healthy.

What is the time frame for food restrictions?

Post-op Week 1- Liquids only.

Post-op Week 2- Pureed foods

Post-op Week 3&4- Soft Food Diet and not drinking 30min before or after meals.

Post-op Week 5-slow advancement to regular foods (avoiding raw vegetables/nuts/seeds/dried fruits)

Week 8 and beyond: Regular diet, but continue to avoid drinking 30min before and after meals.

You may begin “regular” foods ONLY if you can tolerate foods in the previous stages.

You are required to meet with our Bariatric Program counselors two weeks after your surgery and every 4-6 weeks for six months to ensure you are meeting your individual nutritional goals. Phone consults are an option. This is the time when you need to start making notes of how your new digestive system tolerates food and create new eating habits that will lead to successful goals you set. Long-term recommendations are to have three meals and 1-2 snacks with the foods recommended by our dietitian.

No Carbonation EVER after bariatric surgery. No Caffeine for 8 weeks post-op. No Alcohol for 6 months post-op.

You will find some food may never be tolerated or not until later in your post-weight-loss surgery journey. Do not give up. Eat slow and chew thoroughly and participate in our bariatric support group.

How often do I need to see a doctor after bariatric surgery?

Your post-surgery appointments should be at two weeks and three, six, and twelve months and then yearly.

How often should I weigh myself?

We encourage you to weigh at home every 1-2 weeks. This is another habit that commits you to being accountable and responsible for your success. Use the same scale, same time of day upon waking and after using the bathroom, wearing the same clothes (or none). Keep a log of your weight. Checking your weight more than once a week can be too excessive. Contact a counselor if you have the same weight 3 weeks in a row.

What should I do about the medications I was taking before surgery? Should I continue taking all of them?

First and foremost, it is your responsibility to ensure your primary or prescribing doctor (s) are aware that your medications may need to be adjusted after your surgery. Do NOT just stop taking medications after your surgery. Plan ahead, contact your primary doctor and discuss if your medication prescriptions need to be changed, especially diabetes, psychiatric, and blood pressure medication. Medications should be in chewable or liquid form for two-three months after surgery. Time-release medications are NOT recommended. Contact your prescribing doctor(s) prior to surgery. Do not wait until the last day or after surgery.

When can I exercise after bariatric surgery?

Begin walking as soon as possible, this may even be four to six hours after surgery once the anesthesia has worn off. The first week you may be limited by fatigue and mild pain. Walk around the house or in a mall with air conditioning and areas to sit and rest. Your discharge instructions recommend no heavy lifting greater than 10 pounds per hand. When you return for your two-week post-surgery appointment, usually you will be cleared to return to work. Most patients are cleared for exercise at six-week post op appointment.

Can bariatric surgery help prevent breast cancer?

The results of a recent 69,620-women study published in JAMA Surgery suggest that women with a BMI of greater 25 may have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer should they have bariatric surgery.

Read the Full Study

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