Eating Before Bariatric Surgery

Eating Before Bariatric SurgeryDr. Bagnato will likely ask you to lose some weight before surgery in order to reduce your risk for complications and to ensure that you’re ready to commit the healthier lifestyle that’s required for long-term weight loss success. Unfortunately, many pre-weight loss surgery patients succumb to what’s known as “Last Supper Syndrome,” wherein they binge during the period leading up to surgery because they assume they’ll never be able to eat the foods they love again. Some people binge for entire weeks leading up to surgery.

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that, eventually after your surgery, you should be able to have a bite here and there of your favorite foods. What’s even better is that your smaller stomach pouch will allow you to feel full and satisfied after just a couple of bites. Second of all, gaining weight before surgery is dangerous. We know that the healthier you are going into surgery, the more likely you are to have a routine procedure and recovery. Here are some of the potential health-related consequences of pre-surgery bingeing and weight gain:

  • Respiratory problems: Many obese people experience breathing difficulty due to excess tissue in the throat area. Gaining more weight can either cause this problem or exacerbate it if it already exists.
  • Fatty liver: Weight gain can result in fat deposits in the liver. If the liver is enlarged, it could get in the path of the surgery, which could require an open—rather than laparoscopic—surgery. Open surgeries are more invasive and require a longer period of recovery than laparoscopic procedures. Losing weight can help reduce the size of the liver.
  • Cardiac stress: Any major surgery puts stress on the heart, and additional weight will add even more and force it to work harder to pump oxygen to your body.

If you’re unable to lose weight, it’s important to at least work to maintain your current weight prior to surgery. Gaining additional weight before surgery just isn’t worth the risk.