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Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

It is hard to overstate the benefits and long-term effects of preparation. From when we were kids, we were always told to prepare for a big event in our lives and weight loss surgery is no different. The weight loss process is not a short one. Many patients require a year or two after surgery to finally reach that goal weight, but their struggle with weight will be lifelong. The better prepared you are to take on these challenges after surgery, the more successful you will be. With that said, weight loss surgery is major surgery and preparation for such a surgery can also make it more successful and more effective in the immediate and short term.

Following are five ways that patients can prepare for their weight loss surgery procedure – to make sure it is the most effective and safe that it can be. Bear in mind that Dr. Higa may have other suggestions specific to your circumstance that you should follow closely.

  1. Take the time to start developing your support group and system…today. You may be days, weeks or even months out from surgery, but it can’t hurt to have the team that will support you ready and willing to help now. This may consist of family and friends, it will certainly consist of the team at our office, but you can also start joining support groups both locally and around the Internet to understand what to expect in the future and how best to get to your goal weight and health.
  2. Set your expectations for surgery. Have a candid conversation with Dr. Higa and the team here at our office to understand what the weight loss process is like and ultimately what you can expect to lose. A lot of your success will revolve around your dedication to and focus on your long-term health. Patients who try to cut corners after bariatric surgery will not have the same results as those who stick to the plan. That’s not to say that you can’t have cheat days or have moments where your willpower fails you. But you have to be ready for surgery and you have to be ready for the change in lifestyle that you will experience after the procedure.
  3. Follow your pre-op guidelines very carefully. As an example, you will be asked to follow a 10 to 14 day pre-op diet that will be extremely restrictive. It is easy for you to fall off the wagon and avoid following it closely. However, this not only prepares you for the way you will be eating after surgery, but it is primarily geared toward shrinking your liver, which will make the bariatric procedure easier and ultimately safer.
  4. Enlist those closest you to be a part of your weight loss process. Quite separate from your support group, there may be people – even your spouse and kids – that will benefit from weight loss themselves. Incorporating them into your weight loss plan may not only help you be more successful but can have the added benefit of getting them healthier too. Of course, not all friends and family members will be happy about your decision to have weight-loss surgery and that’s OK. Just make sure you keep an open line of communication with them and include them in your successes and failures regardless of their attitude toward your decision.
  5. While weight loss surgery is ultimately a decision that you are making for your health, there is the sometimes uncomfortable financial aspect of your decision as well. Weight loss surgery does cost money, whether or not it is partially covered by insurance. As such, it is important to prepare for the finances associated with your surgery early on as well. This may include contacting your insurance company and putting together all the requirements for coverage. It also may be planning for the out-of-pocket financial expenses, by both speaking to us and starting to save up or arranging for financing, if necessary.

Ultimately, good preparation is the key to a smooth and successful weight loss surgery process. At times, it will seem frustrating to jump through the hoops necessary to have surgery, but ultimately, your preparation early on will pay dividends in the future. Of course, we are here to help you navigate both the health related and financial aspects of your decision, so please rely us on for any questions you may have.