What to expect before weight loss surgery

If you are seriously considering weight loss surgery, you may be wondering what to expect.

When will I be able to eat normally again? Will I have to stay in the hospital?

We asked Dr. Mia Shapiro, Bariatric Surgeon at Bacchus Hospital, what life is like before, during and after bariatric surgery.

Before Surgery: Begin Lifestyle Changes

It’s never too early to start making positive lifestyle changes. In fact, Dr. Shapiro encourages patients to start making changes before weight loss surgery.

“Patients interested in bariatric surgery must demonstrate a commitment to make lifestyle changes. I would like to ask you to start,” says Dr. Shapiro.

This means eating less sugar, more protein, and eating at regular times.

But don’t worry. A team of experts, including nutritionists, psychologists and physical therapists, can help you learn how to create and maintain healthy new habits.

> RELATED: 6 Common Misconceptions About Weight Loss Surgery

During surgery: quick and safe surgery

Your surgeon will identify the best type of bariatric treatment based on your anatomy and medical history. But they have one thing in common.

“Almost all surgeries are performed laparoscopically under general anesthesia and take between one and three hours,” says Dr. Shapiro.

And while all surgery has risks, bariatric surgery is generally considered safe, even safer than common surgeries such as hip replacement and gallbladder surgery.

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After Surgery: The Road to Recovery

Everyone’s experience after surgery is different, but there are some things you can expect.

  • 1-2 days hospitalization
  • A protein-based liquid diet that transitions to a normal diet over one month after surgery
  • Regular check-ins with the weight loss team

“My patients typically take two weeks off work for surgery, and a week after surgery they feel much better,” says Dr. Shapiro.

Even better news. Most patients start losing weight immediately after surgery.

“This is because they go from a normal diet of about 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day to about 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day.”

The Path to a Healthier Life

But sustained weight loss is only part of a much larger picture. After weight loss surgery, patients experience improvements in diabetes, blood pressure, respiratory status, joint pain, and more.

“I think one of the most common misconceptions is that weight loss surgery is for cosmetic purposes. It improves symptoms such as sleep apnea.”

And the list doesn’t end there. A new study shows that patients undergoing bariatric surgery have a reduced risk of developing many cancers, possibly due to reduced systemic inflammation.

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