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How to prepare for weight loss surgery

The Two Weeks Before Surgery

Getting Exercise

It’s important to start exercising before you have your surgery. The sooner you can get started, the easier you will be able to adhere to exercise after your surgery. Get out and move more, and do it safely to avoid injury. Daily walking can improve circulation as well as making it easier to breathe after you’ve had your surgery.

It will also be useful for you to create an exercise plan and put it in place before you have your surgery. You would eliminate the need to come up with one while you are recovering from surgery.

Using a pedometer is a great way to keep track of the progress you’re making in your walking.

If you begin to have joint pain during your exercise and find that you can’t take a daily walk, there are aquatics programs that are far easier on the joints.

Water exercise will still help your breathing, but it doesn’t force weight on your joints.


The operative site has to have good skin integrity.

You need to practice good, healthy hygiene by cleaning and drying your skin. This is especially true in the days leading up to the surgery.

If your skin were to break down, it could cause a delay in your surgery.


It’s vital that you don’t take any aspirin based medications for ten or more days before your surgery.

Many herbal medications, such as garlic, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s Wort, can also cause your blood to thin. Some supplements, such as valerian root and kava, can interact with your anesthesia. Don’t take these for ten or more days before your surgery.

Your surgeon will have to know all of the medication and supplements you take, so bring a list of them.

If you take a multivitamin, check the label carefully, as many of these supplements have herbal ingredients.

Look at the labels of any over-the-counter medications, as some of them have aspirin in them. If you have any doubts, ask Dr. Mailapur or pharmacist.


Smoking affects your lung function, and it can make it easier for you to have complications with your anesthetic. It gives you a greater risk of deep vein thrombosis, among other complications.

Your circulation to your skin is reduced when you smoke, and this can make your incisions heal more slowly. If you smoke and get anesthesia, you have a higher risk of having complications of the cardiopulmonary system. These can include pneumonia, a pulmonary embolism, or having the air sacs in the lungs collapse.

Other than the many risks to the lungs and heart, smoking causes a higher production of stomach acid, leading to the formation of an ulcer.

Smokers must quit smoking about eight weeks before their surgery. They also have to agree that they will not take up smoking again after their surgery.

If you need help with quitting smoking, ask your primary care physician for a prescription for a medication that will help.


Drinking alcohol can irritate the gastric region and can cause damage to your liver. When you lose weight rapidly, the liver is more vulnerable to alcohol and other toxins. It can get bad enough that a few sips of wine with dinner can give you healthy, quick effects of intolerance.

Alcohol is made up of empty calories and may cause your body to go into dumping syndrome.

For those reasons, it’s best to drink no alcohol for the first year after surgery and not frequently drink after that.

Work and Disability

After bariatric surgery, patients can usually get back to work anywhere from one to four weeks later, but this varies with the individual. How much time you will need off from work often depends on the type of work you will do, your health as a whole, how much work needs you to return, how much you need the money from work, your level of motivation to get back to it, the type of surgery you had and your overall level of energy. Dr. Mailapur recommends trying to take 2 weeks off from work.

Try to remember that you are doing more than recovering from your surgery. You are also eating less and experiencing rapid weight loss. It’s important not to rush into work full-time for a while. Those first weeks are needed to learn about your new digestive system, get rest, exercise, and go to group meetings with others who have had this surgery. If you can afford to do so, take some time to rest and recover.

You may not want to let the people at work know what kind of surgery you will get. It’s ok to tell your employer what you are having or tell them a little about it. You don’t have to say that you are having surgery for weight loss, but you must inform your boss that you will have major abdominal surgery. This makes a big difference on how long you will need to recover and likely need at least two weeks. It’s also crucial if you will get compensation in some form while you are recovering.

Ask your employer for all the forms you must fill out. It would be best if you also mentioned that you wouldn’t lift heavy objects more than 10-15 pounds for three weeks following your surgery.

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