Bariatric Surgery Resource

Preparing for your Bariatric Surgery

Before you can have your bariatric surgery there are a number of things that need to be done so that you can be fully prepared. Keeping a checklist and running through everything before the day of your surgery will help to ensure that you don't forget anything and are ready for the drastic life changes that comes with bariatric surgery.

Pre-Op Checklist

  • Clear liquids only. Depending on which surgery you are having it may be up to 1 week that you must stick to only clear liquids. Clear liquids include water, apple juice, cranberry juice, decaffeinated tea without milk, ginger ale, 7-Up/Sprite, etc. Learn more about what is a part of a proper pre-bariatric surgery diet.
  • Make sure to pack an overnight bag for up to 3 days in the hospital.
  • Pre-surgery tests. You can expect to have to complete some testing, which can include a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Urinalysis, glucose tolerance, chest x-ray, Electrocardiogram (EKG), and possibly more.
  • Often you will be required to quit smoking.
  • Consult with your doctor about what medicines you can and can not take leading up to your surgery. Often you will be asked to not take aspirin for up to a week before your surgery.

What to Pack for Your Hospital Stay

Depending on what type of surgery you have, your hospital stay can range anywhere from 2 nights to 5 nights with the laparoscopic procedures requiring a shorter hospital stay than an open bariatric procedure. You should talk to your doctor about how long he expects you to stay in the hospital and then pack a bag accordingly. You should always include one extra days worth of clothing just to be safe. Always include the following items in your packed bag.

  • Loose pants
  • Oversized shirts/tops
  • Comfortable shoes that slip on and off easily
  • Toothbrush

This checklist is just a starting point for how you can prepare yourself for your weight loss surgery. Your checklist may vary, depending on the type of surgery you're having, other medical conditions you may have and your doctors personal preferences.

Preparing for Your Return Home After Surgery

While the tips above are how you can prepare for the surgery itself, you also should be preparing for life after surgery. Below are some items you may want to consider having in your house to help make your life a little easier and more comfortable for when you return home from the hospital.

Grocery List

You may want to pick up some of these items are the grocery store before you have your surgery, that way you don't have to worry about having the proper food to eat once you get home. You could also make a list for a family member or friend to pick up right before you head home from the hospital.

  • Sugar Free Jello
  • Sugar Free Pudding
  • Plain yogurt
  • Gatorade
  • 2% cottage cheese singles
  • Fat Free 1% Milk
  • Egg substitute (in a carton) or Egg white product
  • Sugar Free Popsicles (Edy’s Fruit Bars, No Sugar Added)
  • Protein Drinks
  • Crystal Light or Sugar Free Kool-Aid
  • Low Fat Soups
  • Applesauce - Sugar Free
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast - Sugar Free (Ready To Drink or Powder)
  • Whole Grain Cereal (Post Bran Flakes, 100% Bran, Shredded Wheat, Kashi)
  • Frozen Vegetables - Not in sauce
  • Margarines (Smart Balance tub or spray, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray, Take Control Benecol, Fleishmann’s Olive Oil Spread)
  • Whole Grain Breads (whole-wheat, pumpernickel, rye)
  • Skinless poultry (turkey, ground turkey (Jennie-O), chicken)

Medicine & Supplies to Have at Home

The following medications and supplies could be beneficial to have in the house for when you get home from your surgery.

  • Tums
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Tylenol
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Assortment of bandages and medical tape
  • Neosporin
  • A clean basin

Miscellaneous Items to Remember

The following are other useful items to keep in mind that could help make your life easier once you return home.

  • Make sure you have someone to drive you home from the hospital - This may seem obvious but you will be in no condition to drive yourself home after surgery.
  • Either hire someone to help keep the house clean or ensure a family member is up to the task - You will not be able to bend, squat and do what's need to be cleaning your home for a period of time after surgery.
  • Clear all walkways in the house - Especially between the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen
  • Ensure that all the laundry is done before you leave for the hospital
  • If you have pets,make sure someone will be able to walk and look after them during and immediately after surgery