10 Tips for Preparing for Gastric-sleeve Surgery

10 Tips for Preparing for Gastric-sleeve Surgery

Now that you’ve decided that gastric-sleeve surgery is right for you, you may be looking for some insight concerning how you can be the best prepared for your upcoming surgery. Preparing mentally and physically for this serious weight-loss procedure will help you experience a more successful post operative recovery. Here are 10 ways you should prepare yourself before surgery:

  1. Educate Yourself. Talk with your doctor or surgeon before surgery to find out what the surgery entails and how it will affect you. Ask lots of questions, and discuss fears and concerns thoroughly before you head into surgery. You should feel confident about everything that will be done during the surgery, as well as everything you need to do before and after the surgery to experience the best results.
  2. Engage Your Family. Your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone close to you will comprise your much needed support group. They may need to be educated about how they can both mentally and physically support you throughout your postoperative weight-loss journey. You will need physical help (e.g. doing the dishes, laundry, transportation, etc.) right after your surgery, so it is essential to have support in place for this before your surgery. Emotional encouragement is especially important after surgery as many gatherings in our culture center around food; so your family and friends need to understand, respect, and support how your diet will change.
  3. Change Your Diet. Protein, protein, protein! Many pre-op diet directives from physicians include a special diet that aids in shrinking your liver before surgery to make surgery safer. This may entail a liquid, protein-rich diet which you will need to continue immediately following surgery. Avoid solids, sugars, and fats.
  4. Pack For Your Hospital Stay. You are required to stay overnight for monitoring when you have gastric-sleeve surgery. Bring comfortable pajamas, slippers, toiletries, prescription medications, loose-fitting clothes that are easy to put on, books and devices to help you pass the time, and anything else that will help you feel comfortable.
  5. Stock Your Fridge and Pantry. Your diet will change considerably after gastric-sleeve surgery. Make sure you have what is needed to make protein-rich, low sugar liquid meals before and after surgery. Items such as skim milk, protein shakes, and sugar-free nonfat yogurt are good staples to have on hand post-op when getting to the grocery store may be difficult those first few days and weeks. You will most likely meet with a nutritionist before surgery who will provide you will several protein-rich options to fill your diet with.
  6. Practice New Habits Now. Your eating and exercise routines will need to change after surgery to enable more effective results. Begin now! Eating habits such as eating slowly and eating only when you are hungry instead of emotional/coping eating will be important so you do not overeat post-op and create adverse effects for your surgery. Find an exercise buddy to be accountable to before your surgery, and the two of you will be in a great exercise routine for a long time to come.
  7. Quit Smoking. If you smoke, quit now. Quitting even a month before surgery speeds up your recovery and lessens the risk of complications related to surgery. Some doctors may refuse to operate completely if you still smoke.
  8. Expect Body Changes. You are probably most excited about the rapid weight-loss that accompanies gastric-sleeve surgery. There are other normal changes that may occur after surgery such as hair-loss and dehydration that you should mentally and emotionally prepare for. Utilize your support group and doctor to discuss any feelings of uncertainty or fears leading up to your surgery.
  9. Double Check Insurance Coverage or Arrange Financing. Depending on your insurance coverage and your specific health needs, your insurance may or may not cover gastric-sleeve surgery. Typically, your insurance considers factors such as body-mass index and related health issues when determining coverage. Make certain that your required paperwork is complete and approved with your insurance before your surgery so you don’t receive a surprise bill in the mail down the road.
  10. Focus on You! Your mental and emotional health strongly impacts your quality of life. Consider what factors contributed to your weight gain, and resolve to change moving forward. Keep a journal of healthy changes you are making, motivating ideas, and envisioned lifestyle choices to help you focus on goals and stay positive. Find alternative ways to fill your time and engage in life rather than eating emotionally. Remember to be positive and realistic during this huge lifestyle change. It is a process that will take time.
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