Whether or not you are more predisposed to bariatric surgery complications, there are 11 things that you can do to reduce your risks…
1. Pick a good surgeon and ask all the right questions
This is the most important point by far.
Most surgeons offer free seminars that teach you about your options and their office’s specific results. The seminars also allow you to get to know the surgeon prior to a one-on-one consultation (usually free as well).
2. Follow your doctors’ and nutritionist’s/dietitian’s advice to the letter.
Seriously, this is probably the single best thing you could do to make sure you have a successful weight loss surgery.
3. Educate yourself
You should know what to expect before, during and after surgery. Beginning this life-changing process with complete awareness is key to a successful outcome.In addition, talk with a few patients of your chosen surgeon. Find out what issues they experienced and consider how their stories could apply to you. Good bariatric surgeons will be happy to refer you to some of their patients.
4. Educate your family and close friends
They will need to know about the changes you will experience. Their understanding of your new habits and the reasons you have decided to move forward with surgery will make it much easier to stay on track.
5. Lose as much weight as possible prior to surgery
The lower your body mass index, the lower your risks. However, weight loss prior to surgery is a challenge for some patients, and many bariatric surgeons do not require it.
6. Eat a healthy bariatric diet
Get to know your bariatric diet in the months prior to surgery. This will make the adjustments to your lifestyle after surgery much easier to get used to.
7. Get tested for sleep apnea syndrome several weeks before surgery
Sleep apnea signifantly increases surgical and post-surgical risks. As long as it’s diagnosed prior to surgery, it can be treated ahead of time to reduce the risks. This is an especially big deal considering that – according to a UC Davis School of Medicine study of over 1,300 prospective patients – as high as 25% of prospective patients had UNDIAGNOSED sleep apnea prior to surgery.33
8. Having surgery out of your area?
Plan to stay close to your bariatric surgery center and surgeon for at least 10 days (preferably 2 weeks) after surgery. The two weeks immediately following surgery are the riskiest. If any bariatric surgery complications arise, you want to be close to the doctor who performed the surgery for advice and treatment.
9. Exercise as soon as possible after surgery
The quicker you can get up and moving after surgery the better. However, you don’t want to overdo it, so talk with your doctor to learn an appropriate program.
10. Use compression stockings, pneumatic compression devices
(special machines that gently squeeze your legs to help keep the blood flowing) and blood thinners after surgery
These will help reduce the risk of a blood clot. Your surgeon should have each of these available after surgery.
11. Have and use an effective support system
Family, friends, a good in-person weight loss surgery support group, and a well-rounded online weight loss support group. It is nearly impossible to succeed without the support of those close to you, and your chance of long-term success increases greatly if you’re able to talk with others who understand and will listen without passing judgement.