Unsure if you are a candidate for Bariatric Surgery? This surgery, also called weight loss surgery, offers many people a successful journey towards a healthy lifestyle when other methods have failed. Only you and your Crittenton physician can determine if Bariatric Surgery is for you. Read our frequently asked questions below about Weight Loss Surgery to get a better understanding of the lifestyle changes, surgery procedures, and generable information. Do you have specific questions? Ask Crittenton directly, by contacting us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bariatric surgery includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band, by removing a portion of the stomach or by re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch.
For some, no amount of dieting, exercise or lifestyle modification can help significantly impact severe obesity. It’s a reality that can lead to frustration, depression, and in many cases, serious health issues. Bariatric Surgery is an alternative option that can provide a whole new life. Determining whether you may be a candidate for Bariatric Surgery is a process that requires serious discussion with your doctor and your family.
You are a candidate if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 40. Generally, this translates to 100lbs or more overweight for men, or 80lbs or more for women. Bariatric procedures may also be an option for people with a BMI between 35 and 40 who suffer from life threatening cardiopulmonary problems or diabetes.
The multidisciplinary team assembled at Crittenton Hospital includes Bariatric Surgeons, nutritionists, psychologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, nurse educators, case managers, and other medical specialists trained in Bariatric care. At Crittenton, our team treats your family like our family and all medical staff focus on holistic and caring approaches to patient care.
Patients should anticipate losing a small amount of weight through diet and exercise prior to surgery to ensure the liver is at an optimal weight. The liver is a large organ that sits right in front of the stomach and by losing weight, it is easier for the surgeon to gain access to the stomach.
- For the two weeks immediately prior to your surgery, you should consume only between 800 -1000 calories per day.
- Limit caffeinated beverages, as they will make it more difficult to stay hydrated.
- Stop all blood thinners or platelet medication two weeks before surgery. Be sure your prescribing doctor is aware and comfortable with this decision.
- Stop all herbs and supplements other than the prescribed vitamins, as many of these supplements cause bleeding problems and interfere with anesthesia.
- Take other medications as usual.
- Take heart medications (no aspirin) 4-6 hours before leaving for the hospital, also discuss with anesthesia doctor.
After surgery, you will be taken to the Recovery Room. The anesthesia team will carefully follow your progress as the anesthetic wears off. General anesthesia is used for all types of weight loss surgery. A breathing tube is inserted in your mouth while you are sleeping. While most patients have the breathing tube removed as they wake up in the operating room, it may be safer in some cases to leave the tube in and remove it in the Recovery Room. Your anesthesiologist will make the decision as to when it is safe to remove the tube.
Most patients remain in the PACU for several hours, but some remain overnight. Once you have fully recovered from the effects of the general anesthesia, the PACU team will transfer you to your hospital room. If they feel that more intensive monitoring is required, you may be transferred to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) or the Step-down Unit instead.
Most patients can start the “Stage I” diet on the first day after surgery. Stage I includes low-calorie, noncarbonated clear liquids and jello. Your nurse will encourage you to do two things on this day:
- Incentive Spirometer: You will be given a breathing exercise tool, known officially as an incentive spirometer. This is a small clear plastic device with an indicator inside to let you know how deeply you are breathing. By exercising your lungs, you can reduce your chances of fevers or pneumonia after surgery.
- Walking: It is very important to get out of bed and walk, even right after surgery. This will reduce the risk of a blood clot and will help you to take deep breaths. It is important to spend as much time out of bed walking as possible, and to diligently use your incentive spirometer. When you are tolerating your diet well, your surgeon will remove your intravenous line (IV) and switch you over to oral pain medication. Most patients are ready to go home by the middle of the 1st day after their surgery.
In the Recovery Room, your anesthesia team will help assess what type of postoperative pain control will be best for you. If they feel that you will benefit from a PCA device (patient-controlled analgesia) they will set this up while you are here.