In any kind of surgical operation, the thought of lying on the operating table causes anxiety more than excitement. The risks of being cut open and ‘tweaked’ on may put your life in jeopardy even if you employ the best surgeon in the whole world. But, that is unless you come prepared weeks or months ahead of time.
That said, preparation proves to be the best weapon. I talk to people who eye gastric bypass surgery as their last resort to battle obesity and its complications.
Although death is a possibility, doctors say that bariatric surgeries are generally safe. Across the US, the mortality rate for gastric bypass surgery is 0.5% or 1 in 200 patients.
It’s a big leap. You as a patient should be emotionally, mentally, and physically prepared to survive it. By conducting lab tests and assessments, your surgical team will prep you for the big day. They need to make sure that your body will not succumb to gastric bypass surgery during and after operation.
The medical examinations count as the professional aspect of the whole preparation thing. Getting ready with your own shopping list, as per your doctor’s advice, would also be necessary.
Meeting with a surgical team—composed of nutritionist, cardiologist, endocrinologist, anesthesiologist, among others— and going through a series of assessments are the first phases of the operation. The team of your choice will ensure that you are fit and ready for the big day, so they might ask you to do the following:
Quit smoking. Doctors advise smokers to give up cigarettes a few weeks before surgery and give it up forever after that…for a good reason. For one thing, they are at high risk of developing respiratory complications like pneumonia after the surgery. Smoking will also slow down recovery. It will also increase the risk of clotting during the operation according to research. Researchers also found that smoking after surgery stimulates gastric secretions, which later lead to chronic gastritis. It is not only advised though to save your lungs during the operation but also to save your health for a long term.
Lay low on alcoholic drinks. Research suggests that Roux-en-Y patients are at high risk of developing alcoholism after surgery. Obese people also tend to shift their addiction from food to drugs or alcohol. As scientists put it, the reduction of the stomach and intestines’ sizes causes the absorption of alcohol to become four times faster than average. This means that a person becomes drunk as easily as he becomes sober. Giving up alcohol as early as possible will help you ward off the addiction.
Your nutritionist may advise you to lose at least 15 pounds months before surgery. This way your surgeon can verify that you are ready to commit to the life-long changes that the surgery requires. Some gastric bypass cases tend to relapse after a few months or years and this is what doctors want to avoid.
Your surgeon may require you to go on liver reducing diet two weeks prior to surgery. The liver, found in the upper part of the digestive system overlapping the stomach, is the largest organ in the body. You need to reduce the size of your liver for an easier procedure and to prevent complications. Ask your nutritionist about the certain diet plan to make this happen. Otherwise, your surgeon will have to cancel the operation. Diabetics who are on medication will have to seek their doctor’s advice regarding dosages.
Stock on sugar and calorie-free protein drinks in particular. You will be on liquid diet for quite some time so you might as well do an early shopping to avoid troubles. Shopping before surgery will give you time to choose which products would suit your taste and your needs best. Besides, someone will not always be available to run the errands for you. But, you will need to eat quite often.
Before shopping, ask your surgeon for suggestions on what food, supplements, or vitamins to stock on. Often, patients are advised fills their cabinets with calcium citrate, vitamin B12 or B complex, iron, vitamin D3, and multivitamins.
Prepare your special tools. Gastric bypass surgery patients are allowed to eat only small portions after the operation so get your measuring cups, measuring spoons, and scales ready.
If your blender is broke, have it repaired. If you don’t have a blender, buy one. If you already have a blender, that ‘s good. Why? You will be on pure to pureed liquid diet for the first two to four weeks after the surgery. The succeeding weeks, and for the rest of your life, you will be required you to go on sugar-free and fat-free diet. Don’t be scared. This brings us to the next guideline.
Commitment. Prepare yourself to commit to a lifetime of healthy living. You can have cheat days but not for long periods.
The mere consideration of gastric bypass surgery is already a form of self preparation. The moment you made up your mind about going through it is the day you promise to give up on fast foods, sugars, fat, and unhealthy habits.
So, good luck on your journey and congratulations for making the right choice. Not so much with the gastric bypass surgery but with the way you chose to live your life from this moment on.