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Studies suggest that the following measures that can be taken to reduce the overall risks and complications associated with bariatric surgery.1,2,3
1. Decrease BMI Before Bariatric Surgery
- The University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences says that the risk associated with a bariatric procedure reduces considerably when the patient’s BMI is as low as possible before the surgery.4
- This is one of the reasons why patients are made to go on a pre-op clear liquid diet. Naturally, the other and most important goal is to shrink the size of the patient’s liver.
2. Do Not Smoke Before Your Weight Loss Surgery
- Smoking can disrupt the lungs and reduce your breathing capacity.
- It also decreases the body’s ability to heal itself.
- According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the earlier you quit smoking before surgery, the better it is.5
3. Avoid Caffeine before and after Bariatric Surgery
- It is advised to avoid caffeine for at least a month after bariatric surgery as the stomach might be sensitive to it and may cause discomfort.
- Caffeine is a natural diuretic and makes an individual urinate more, thus losing valuable hydrating fluids initially after surgery.
4. Exercise Before and After Bariatric Surgery
- Working out regularly in the weeks leading up to gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery can help you achieve a pre-op weight level conducive for the gastric sleeve, bypass or any other weight loss surgery.
- This prevents complications arising from weight loss surgery and makes the procedure quicker.
- Exercising also makes the heart and body stronger, so that the patient can endure bariatric surgery.
5. Cultivate Better Eating Habits
- Diets do not help achieve and maintain weight loss long term.
- It is necessary to focus on the eating-related issues that you struggle with and begin making small lifestyle changes that will help you achieve weight loss and maintain that loss.
In addition to a good diet, you also need to sweat it out to see the pounds coming off!
6. Attend Support Groups
- Psychological preparation is beneficial in readying yourself for the permanent changes that need to be made to achieve and maintain healthy body weight.
- Learn from the experience of others who have undergone the procedure already.
7. Move Around Immediately After Bariatric Surgery
- Being a little active and walking small distances after weight loss surgery reduces the risk of blood clots and also improves lung functions.
To minimize risks and complications post weight loss surgery, the patient should also follow the post-operative dietary guidelines and modify lifestyle behavior as recommended.6
- The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), “Preoperative supervised weight loss requirements.”
- University of Rochester Medical Centre, “Risks and Complications of Bariatric Surgery“
- American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, “Life after Bariatric Surgery”
- The University of Pittsburg, “Bariatric Surgery Risks, Complications, and Side Effects“
- American Society of Anesthesiologists, “Q&A: Stop Smoking“
- Jacqueline Chang, Nam Nguyen et al. “Prevention and Management of Complications after Bariatric Surgery” British Columbia Medical Journal 2018; 60(3), 156-159
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