If you’ve been struggling unsuccessfully to lose weight by other means, or if your obesity is causingyou significant health concerns, you may have considered surgery.
Prior to making a commitment, you’ll need to find out if you are a good candidate for one of the many types of surgery available, with the help of your chosen surgeon.
The Consultation: What To Expect
While the consultation itself is the most important step in preparing yourself for surgery, there are some important steps you can take to prepare for it.
Make sure you have a list of your current medications to bring with you. Also include any over-the-counter medications you’re taking, and any herbal remedies or other nutritional supplements.
Many medications can cause complications during the surgery itself. For example, even meds as common as aspirin and vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding and birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots. Some of your current medications could also interfere with medications your surgeon might prescribe after the surgery itself.
Let the surgeon know of any complications you or a family member have experienced involving anesthesia.
During the consultation you’ll be asked a variety of questions to help your surgeon determine the best course to follow to meet your long-term goals. It’s extremely important that you answer all the questions honestly and thoroughly.
Equally important will be the questions that YOU ask, you’ll want answers to some of these:
- How long will the recovery time be after surgery? Recovery times vary for each type of surgery, and some of it depends on your overall health prior to surgery.
- Will you need to have any cosmetic surgery after your surgery?
- If so, which procedures are recommended, and what do they entail?
How It Works:
Weight loss surgery works in three basic ways: Either by restricting how much food your stomach can hold at any time; by preventing your digestive system from absorbing all the nutrition in the food you eat or by a combination of both.
Cosmetic surgery may be recommended after the bariatric surgery to improve your body’s contour by removing the excess skin after weight loss.
A body lift is a typical procedure where excess skin and fat is removed from the hips, buttocks, and thighs.
Another common procedure is called abdominoplasty (also known as a “tummy tuck”) which is the removal of excess skin from the abdominal area and tightening of muscles.
Panniculectomy is a third type of cosmetic surgery. It’s similar to the tummy tuck, but it only removes the excess skin and fat, and does not tighten the abdominal muscles. Your surgeon will help you determine which (if any) of these procedures is right for you.
What To Expect After Your Weight Loss Surgery:
Most people say that the most difficult adjustment after bariatric surgery is the drastically reduced amount of food that they’re able to consume.
In fact, after most bariatric surgeries, the smaller stomach can only tolerate a few ounces of food an liquids at a time. As a result, they experience reduced energy levels until their body adjusts to its new digestive routine. Most individuals, however, are able to resume normal levels of activity in as little as six weeks after the surgery.
If you’ll be taking either some medications you took prior to surgery, or any the surgeon may have prescribed after surgery, you may need to crush your pills for several weeks, due to your now smaller stomach. Make sure you discuss this with your surgeon prior to returning home from the hospital.
Any type of surgery has its risks, and it’s important that you feel comfortable, not only with your surgeon, but with the knowledge of the possible outcomes.
The most important part of this process is YOU. Do your homework, gather all our information, then trust yourself and your intuition to make the best decision for yourself.
Coming up: An Overview of Types of Bariatric Surgery
© 2012 – 2013, Kelli Roig RN. All rights reserved.