Pre-Operative Counseling before Weight-Loss Surgery: What to Expect - My Bariatric Life

Patient Expert

Nowadays, prior to your weight-loss surgery date being scheduled, bariatric surgery candidates are required to undergo pre-operative counseling. This discipline was not a requirement when I had my procedure nearly a decade ago.

The Rational for Pre-Operative Counseling before Weight-Loss Surgery

The addition of this pre-operative assessment was deemed essential. Reportedly, it helps evaluate the overall physical and psychological condition of those who desire a bariatric surgical procedure to address their obesity versus other means to weight loss.

A psychiatric evaluation will be ordered to clarify the patient's understanding of possible risks and complications related to the bariatric surgery, as well as the need to follow the recovery plan. In addition, if psychological conditions such as substance dependence or mood disorders are present, they must be addressed.  Bariatric patients are at risk for alcohol abuse  after weight-loss surgery, and potentially marital stress after weight-loss surgery.

One of the criticaurposes of the pre-surgical counseling is to make the client fully aware that long-term weight-loss requires a multidisciplinary approach.  True lifetime obesity management  is more than a bariatric surgical fix; it requires lifelong changes in diet and exercise and may involve emotional and psychological challenges.

All of you  know by now that I advocate a mutlidisciplinary approach. And if you don't, then please take a moment to read my sharepost, Why Weight-Loss Surgery Fails and Why I Didn't.  Changing my lifestyle  is the reason that I have maintained a 100 lb weight-loss from gastric bypass surgery for nearly a decade. ** A List of Pre-Weight-Loss Surgery Counseling and Tests**

Pre-weight-loss surgery consultations may include meeting with a mental health professional, a heart specialist, and a dietician.

Required pre-surgical testing can and most likely will include blood studies, chest x-ray, echocardiogram, EKG, pulmonary function test, and a treadmill stress test to highlight a few.

A CBC, or complete blood count, will be done as part of your pre-surgical tests in order to measure various components in the blood including the red blood cells that carry oxygen, the white blood cells that combat disease, the hemoglobin that carries oxygen, the hematocrit or proportion of red blood cells to plasma, and the platelets that help with clotting.

A blood glucose test may be done to check for diabetes, as well as an ultrasound to check for gallstones. Sometimes the gall bladder is removed during gastric bypass surgery.

A GI evaluation may be ordered for patients who have gastrointestinal symptoms (heartburn, etc.) to identify potential problems such as reflux or peptic ulcer.

Because so many people who desire bariatric surgery have sleep apnea (a stoppage of breathing while asleep), sleep testing will probably be required. Breathing stops because the airway becomes blocked when the muscles relax during sleep. As there is increased potential for fatality from this disorder, it should be addressed prior to weight-loss surgery.

All evaluations should be worded in a way that the bariatric patient can readily understand.

A List of Steps to Take Prior to Weight-Loss Surgery to Ensure Your Success

Those who have the best chance for  lifetime obesity management following weight-loss surgery are those who have an established support group, friends and family. I attended Overeaters Annonymous for years and this obesity support group was extremely helpful to me in addressing my emotional issues with food -- a confounding factor that my gastric bypass surgery did not address.

Programs of fitness and exercise should be developed, as well as a program of nutrition and diet. One of the tools I use is food and exercise planners and calculators.

Other suggestions prior to weight-loss surgery can include drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily, cessation of smoking, cessation of drinking caffeinated beverages, taking a multivitamin daily, and beginning a moderate program of walking.

The Importance of Pre-Weight-Loss Surgery Testing

While the pre-weight-loss surgery testing may seem extravagant, it is meaningful. The potential for success will most certainly be enhanced once a more clear picture is had.   Testing of thyroid function can detect hypothyroidism, which can lead to death after the surgery. If a patient has diabetes, the blood sugar must be controlled. The heart must be tested because of the stress surgery places on it.

There is always risk involved with surgery, and minimizing those risks is little more than common sense. After all, the idea is to be successful.

Wink  Please "heart" this article  to support future weight-loss surgery topics on HealthCentral. Thank you!** My Story...**

You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.