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I am considering weight-loss surgery. How do I know if I qualify?

This option is for people who have a BMI of 35 or higher and have tried many diets and exercise programs. If you are interested in surgery, the next step is to attend an informational seminar held by the surgeon to learn more about the options and if you are an appropriate candidate.

What are the routine tests before surgery?

Common, routine testing such as pulmonary function, echocardiogram, sleep studies, GI evaluation, or cardiology evaluation may be requested. There are also other standard laboratory tests done prior to surgery. The best way to avoid complications is to take control of any potential health risks prior to surgery. It is important to know if your thyroid function is adequate, or if you need to take special steps to control blood sugar. Because surgery increases cardiac stress, your heart will be thoroughly evaluated.

What can I do before the appointment to speed up the process of getting ready for surgery?

  • Select a primary care physician if you do not already have one, and establish a relationship with him or her. Work with your physician to ensure that your routine health maintenance testing is current. For example, women may have a pap smear, and if over 40 years of age, a breast exam. And for men, this may include a prostate specific antigen test (PSA).
  • Make a list of all the diets you have tried (a diet history) and bring it to your doctor.
  • Bring any pertinent medical data to your appointment with the surgeon – this includes reports of special tests (echocardiogram, sleep study, etc.) or a hospital discharge summary if you have been in the hospital.
  • Bring a list of your medications with dose and schedule.
  • Stop smoking. Surgical patients who use tobacco products are at a higher surgical risk.

What is the right amount of exercise after weight-loss surgery?

Many patients are hesitant about exercising after surgery, but exercise is an essential component of success after surgery. Exercise begins on the afternoon of surgery – the patient must be out of bed and walking. The goal is to walk farther on the next day, and progressively farther every day after that, including the first few weeks at home. Patients are often released from medical restrictions and encouraged to begin exercising about two weeks after surgery, limited only by the level of wound discomfort. The type of exercise is dictated by the patient’s overall condition. Some patients who have severe knee problems cannot walk well, but may be able to swim or bicycle. Many patients begin with low-stress forms of exercise and are encouraged to progress to more vigorous activity when they are able.

Will I get a copy of suggested eating patterns and food choices after surgery?

We will provide patients with materials that clearly outline expectations regarding diet and guidelines for the best outcome based on your surgical procedure. After surgery, health and weight loss are highly dependent on patient compliance with these guidelines. You must do your part by restricting high-calorie foods, avoiding sugar, snacks and fats, and strictly following the guidelines set by your surgeon.

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