Losing Weight Prior to Weight Loss Surgery

By Laura DeAndrade, MSN, ANP-BC

Upon your first visit into our office, you will hear our staff stress the issue of not gaining weight during the pre-surgical process. We encourage weight loss of any degree prior to surgery. Not only is this weight loss beneficial for your overall health, but it can reduce your overall risks during surgery. Weight loss prior to surgery assists in reducing the size of the liver, reduces cardiovascular work and can also reduce the need for some medications prior to surgery.

Some insurance companies have started mandating that patients lose 5% of their current weight before they will approve a candidate for surgery. It seems odd that you are planning on having a surgical procedure for weight loss but you need to lose weight beforehand? Adopting the weight loss habits and healthy eating guidelines before surgery will make you more successful after surgery. Any one of our providers can express concerns with a patient not making any dietary changes during the preoperative period. This can delay your ability to schedule your surgery. If you cannot make necessary changes prior to surgery and start making healthy decisions, surgery is not going to fix that issue. We really want our patients to start adhering to the diet and lifestyle guidelines that are going to make them successful after surgery.

Many patients want to know if they can lose enough weight prior to surgery and should they even follow through with surgery at all? My recommendation would be yes! Statistically, only three percent of those who lose weight are going to be able to lose it and keep it off (without surgery). Odds are these patients will likely be back in the next 1-2 years after losing weight and gaining it all back. Weight is not only the primary concern, but other health issues the patient had before surgery. We know having weight loss surgery will allow patients to continue to lose weight, but it will enable them to get closer to their ideal body weight, thus improving any health related issues.

Remember, even with surgery this is a life long commitment. When walking into our office, you are making an effort to better your own health. Making necessary changes for the rest of your life is imperative to long-term success.

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