Preparing for surgery
There is no doubt about it, making the choice to have surgery to achieve significant & permanent weight loss is a major decision! Be reassured that nobody makes the decision lightly or finds it an easy process. Wherever you are at down the road to making a final decision, at betterlife surgery we have people you can talk to in order to make the road a little straighter.
There are many things to consider when contemplating weight loss surgery. Do I qualify for surgery? Will I be successful? Can I afford the operation? How risky is the surgery? Why can’t I just try harder to lose weight without an operation?
All of these questions will be asked at some point during the journey to weight loss surgery and it is important that you have clarity by the time you reach a final decision. Everyone you ask will have a different opinion but the most important thing is that you come to conclusions in your own mind. It is important to talk with loved ones, your family doctor, people who have had weight loss surgery and ultimately, a professional who is experienced in the field.
That is where we at BetterLife Surgery come into it. We have the facts at our fingertips and are able to provide information that will help in the decision-making process. Even if you haven’t made a final decision, it is important to talk to a weight loss surgeon. Choose wisely, ask many questions and voice your reservations.
Once you are certain that weight loss surgery is for you, it is essential to have the operation that is going to best suit your physical and lifestyle needs. Advice on type of surgery is essential and is best gained from a non-biased source. The internet is full of information that is useful to an extent. Beware of the website that strongly advocates for one operation over the others. There is usually a reason for that, and that reason is not necessarily in your best interests.
At BetterLife Surgery, the process of deciding between Gastric Band, Gastric Sleeve & Gastric Bypass is undertaken by taking many things into consideration. The main factor is you….What is your BMI? What other medical problems do you have? Have you had previous surgery? What lifestyle factors are most important to you and how will surgery impact on these eg. travel, physical activity etc? These factors need to weighed up during the initial consultation so that we can identify the operation that best suits you!
There is one last hoop to jump through... the Optifast Diet "worth doing & worth doing well". This is essential to maximise the safety of the operation. It starts two or three weeks prior to the operation date and is designed to eliminate fatty deposits within the liver. This shrinks the liver and makes technical aspects of the surgery easier. So, in the long run it is worth doing and well. After all, it is the last time you will need to face a formal diet!
You will see the Nutritionist prior to your operation. This is a great opportunity to lay out your current dietary details – the good bits, the hangups and the things you know have contributed to the current struggle you are having with your weight. The nutritionist will give you information regarding eating & drinking after the operation. She also has recipes and advice regarding setting up strategies for healthy eating following surgery. Let’s face it, this is a whole new world for you and getting it right from the start is essential. Once again, ask lots of questions, take along your support crew that will be with you following your operation. The nutritionist is a font of knowledge and is dedicated to working with you to get you healthy and happy in your new life.
The operation day is here
A date for surgery has been chosen and the countdown is on to realising your new life! It is hard to imagine a life where constantly worrying about what you are eating or shouldn’t be eating is practically taken away from you.
It is essential that you are as relaxed as possible on the chosen day of your surgery. Don’t rush and have contingencies in place should the unexpected happen. Ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you feel in control of what you are about to go through. Knowledge and understanding of foreign situations helps to decrease the stress levels and your body’s response to stress and this is important. After all, this is the first day of the rest of your life!
Post-surgery. What to expect
The initial post-operative period is all about ‘keeping it simple’! Remember, there is plenty of support there if you have any concerns during this time and this will be spelt out to you when you leave the Hospital.
The first 2 days
After the operation, every effort will be made to keep you as comfortable as possible. There are two symptoms that are most commonly experienced in the early post-operative period – pain and nausea. Both are usually easily controlled with medications that we use in tablet form. We are aiming for you to be comfortable enough so that you can mobilise to the toilet without too much trouble. If either of these symptoms are a problem, let your nurse know so that we can take steps to remedy the situation. Remember, you are surrounded by healthcare professionals who are experienced with this situation and are keen that this time is as positive & straight forward for you as possible. So, please speak up if something is bothering you!
After the operation you will be able to suck ice in order to keep your mouth moist and then on the first day following surgery you will be able to drink water. Drinking water even feels different following the operation. For some it is uncomfortable, for others it feels like it ‘hits a brick wall’ when it enters your stomach but for others it doesn’t feel particularly different. After all, this journey is a very personal one. What you experience may be very different from others as there is wide variation in what people experience. However, it is our focus to make it as positive an experience as possible. We want to minimise anxiety and discomfort and make the transition to your new life as smooth as possible!
On the evening of Day 1 we start the Puréed food diet and give you ideas on how to make the next two weeks nutritionally satisfying at least.
- 3 Months
- Nutrition blood tests and a follow up with Nicola for the results
- 6 Months
- Follow up appointment with Bariatric Nurse
- 12 Months
- Nutrition blood tests and then a follow up with Bariatric Nurse
The first 2 weeks
This time is set aside for you! It is essential that you have ‘time out’ from your usual responsibilities so that you can focus on gaining confidence in your new life. Everything will be different about how you eat and drink and it is important to embrace that. Food should be puréed to a sloppy consistency. Don’t worry, this is not a permanent requirement it is just designed to minimise any pressure on your new stomach. It also gets you used to what it is like to eat and drink with a very small stomach.
Watch out for your full feeling – it will happen very quickly and it is important not to eat beyond fullness! Don’t worry. It all takes practice and that is why having time and space is important so that you can process everything that is taking place.
Remember, if you are worried about anything or have any questions, contact Steph so that she can problem solve with you or give you advice.
- 3 Weeks
- First follow up appointment with Stephanie
The first 2 months
This is the time that things really start to fall into place! The hard work and physical challenges of the surgery are behind you, and now the rewards start to become obvious. You will see Steph at 3 weeks following the operation and by that time weight loss of between 6 and 15kgs is the norm! It is exciting to see such rapid results, but now is when new routines and habits need to be bedded in. The foundation of longterm success is getting healthy and sustainable practices underway right from the word go. It is essential to make changes and to realise the success that you have worked so hard for. Afterall, this is the start of the rest of your new life.
Starting an exercise regime is a good thing to do in the first 3 months following the operation. This actually starts to feel like an achievable goal. As the weight loss starts to add up your body will be feeling lighter and your energy levels will be noticeably increased. Make the most of this! Choose an exercise that appeals to you and your circumstances, whether this be walking at a brisk pace around the neighbourhood, cycling or making the commitment to have a Personal Trainer. This will pay dividends both mentally and physically and will add to your sense of achievement. It also helps with toning your skin as you start to ‘shrink’ and probably helps to minimise loose skin. Anyway, the sky is the limit now and you are starting to achieve things that previously seemed impossible for you. Your family and friends will start to notice a difference in you too.
Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch.
Ask Dr Ulmer a Question
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