Before and After Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure. Along with the physical transformation, you will need to adjust to a number of other changes in your day-to-day life. Your eating and drinking habits will change, and you will experience physical activity in a new way. You may also experience challenges with your interpersonal relationships, mental health, and your sense of well-being.

Temple University Hospital offers support and encouragement during every phase of your weight loss surgery process – both before and after your surgery, and during your long-term recovery.

Prior to Surgery

Your primary care physician is an important part of your surgery approval process, and he or she may be required by your insurance company to report on your non-surgical weight loss attempts. These requirements may vary by health insurance policy and provider, but in most cases include monthly tracking of the following key areas:

  • Your weight
  • Your supervised weight loss program
  • Your weight loss counseling sessions

The specific requirements that you need to meet will be outlined either by the staff at Temple University Hospital or by your insurance company.

At your mandatory educational class, you will receive a copy of the Temple Bariatric Informational Handbook. This book includes information about diet, descriptions of different weight loss surgical procedures, and tips on what to expect during and after your hospital stay.

After you complete the class, you will meet with the Temple dietitian for a nutritional assessment and diet instruction tailored for your individual needs. The dietitian will review your diet history and eating patterns, and record your weight and body measurements. Be sure to bring with you any supplements that you are taking, and read the handbook and write down your questions before the meeting so that you can ask questions during the consultation.

Before surgery, you will undergo various tests during an evaluation period. These include blood tests, as well as GI, cardiac and pulmonary tests. After your initial consultation, your bariatric surgeon will determine which tests are necessary, based on your specific case. The bariatric team at Temple University Hospital would be happy to assist you in scheduling the tests you need.

The time between the initial consultation and the surgery itself usually ranges from one month to several months. During this time you will need to provide your insurance company with any documents and paperwork they need. The required documentation varies among insurance providers, so be sure to contact your insurance company and ask for their specific requirements. You will also be thoroughly evaluated during this period to be sure that bariatric surgery is right for you. While we always try to expedite the evaluation stage, this process varies depending on the individual and it is critical that we ensure maximum patient safety.

You should not gain weight during the evaluation process, and we prefer that you start losing weight before your procedure. During this time, you should change your eating habits by following the recommendations of the Temple dietitian. This will help the Temple bariatric surgical team perform your procedure as safely as possible.

Following Surgery

The length of post-operative hospital stay varies among the different bariatric procedures. Laparoscopic banding patients generally return home the day after surgery, whereas laparoscopic gastric bypass patients usually return home on the second day after surgery. Open incision gastric bypass patients generally return home on the second to fourth day after surgery.

After surgery, you will require an all-liquid diet and you must not drink any liquids – such as soda – that contain sugar, caffeine or carbonation. You will then begin to add protein-based liquids into your diet, followed by pureed foods, and finally foods with texture. The amount of time required for this progression is different for each patient, but in most cases, patients are able to eat soft, non-blended foods by week four or five.

Bariatric surgery is designed to restrict the amount of food that you can eat at one time. As a result, after surgery you need to eat foods high in nutrition to maintain your health and help your incision heal fully. It will also be necessary to take vitamin, mineral and protein supplements. The Temple dietitian will develop an individualized regimen that is right for you, and will provide a list of brands from which you can choose. Several times during the first year, and every year thereafter, you will need to have your blood checked to ensure that your body is absorbing nutrients adequately.

How often you eat, what you eat and how much you exercise are important factors in a successful weight loss procedure. Bariatric surgery is a tool that can produce good results if properly applied. However, the surgical procedure itself does not make you thinner automatically. You need to stick to the plan that you develop with the Temple dietitian and your bariatric surgeon. You should continue to follow up with the Temple weight loss team over the long term and visit for checkups at least once a year.

Bariatric surgery is the first step in a lifelong commitment to diet, exercise, dietary supplements and changes in lifestyle that will help you maintain your weight loss. The weight-loss team at Temple University Hospital will be there every step of the way to assist you before and after surgery and to provide you with ongoing support into the future.

To register for a free informational seminar or to make an appointment for a consultation with a Temple bariatric surgeon, click here or call 1-800-Temple-Med (1-800-836-7536).

This page is intended to provide tips and guidelines only, and should not be taken as a definitive medical or dietary plan for patients of bariatric surgery. For detailed information about diet and nutrition specific to your needs, consult your doctor or dietitian.