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Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is like other major surgeries. You can best prepare by knowing the benefits and risks of surgery and by closely following your doctor's instructions.

Everyone having bariatric surgery will attend a pre-op class led by one of our Nurse Practitioners. This class reviews important instructions pertaining to the day before surgery, review of the hospital course and procedure and instructions for your first week after surgery.

Mentally Prepare Yourself

  • Understand the surgical process and what to expect afterward.
  • Keep in mind that you'll never be able to eat the way you did before, and that you'll have to watch the way you eat for the rest of your life.
  • Due to increased risk of gastric ulcers and gastritis after surgery we advise patients to permanently give up tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine (including coffee, tea & soda) lifelong. We also recommend discontinuing or limiting the use of NSAIDS due to the same potential risks.
  • Talk to people who have had bariatric surgery. Attending three or more support groups before surgery is a good way to prepare yourself.
  • Write a letter to yourself explaining your reasons for having bariatric surgery and outlining your plans to maintain your weight loss after surgery.
  • Start a journal. Record how you feel now, the challenges you face, and the things you hope to be able to do after bariatric surgery.
  • Get a letter of support from your family. It helps to know you have people behind you, waiting to help.

Physically Prepare Yourself

It is critical that you follow the guidelines that your doctor gives you. The guidelines will be based upon your procedure, your personal profile, and other factors. You want to ensure your best outcome and the guidelines will help you do your part.

What to Expect After Surgery

After bariatric surgery, the amount of food that you eat is less than what you could eat pre-surgery. At the same time, a feeling of satisfaction, or satiety, is achieved with these small quantities of food. If you eat a large meal or foods high in fat and/or sugar after gastric bypass surgery you very likely will have a painful physical reaction. This "dumping syndrome" response helps you avoid large meals and unhealthy foods.

How Much Weight can I Expect to Lose?

The actual weight you will lose after a bariatric procedure is dependent on several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Weight before surgery
  • Overall condition of your health
  • Surgical procedure
  • Ability to exercise
  • Commitment to maintaining dietary guidelines and follow-up care
  • Your motivation and cooperation of family, friends and associates

In general, weight loss surgery success is defined as achieving loss of 50% or more of excess body weight and maintaining that level for at least five years. Clinical data will vary for each of the different weight loss procedures mentioned on this site, and results may also vary by bariatric surgeon.

To make sure you are well informed, have your surgeon review the clinical data and outcomes of the particular procedure they are recommending for you.

Keeping You Connected!

There are a number of ways to stay up to date with Lowell General Hospital. Learn more about the latest health updates on COVID-19, nutrition and wellness information available in our health library, and current hospital news and resources.