Struggling with obesity and looking to take control of your health? Bariatric surgery may be the solution you need. This life-changing procedure helps individuals achieve significant and sustained weight loss when diet and exercise alone haven’t worked. Over 40% of adults in the United States have obesity, putting them at risk for related health issues. But bariatric surgery can be transformative, with over 60% of patients losing excess weight within the first year.

But what does the process involve? What dietary changes are required? Orlando Minimally Invasive Surgery is here to walk you through preparing for bariatric surgery and answer any questions. Read on to learn more about ensuring a smooth, successful procedure and getting to a healthier you.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery helps patients lose weight by modifying the size and function of the stomach. There are a few different techniques surgeons can use:

  • Removing part of the stomach to make it smaller
  • Placing a restrictive band around the top portion of the stomach
  • Rerouting the small intestine to reduce calorie absorption
  • These procedures can be done through open surgery with a large incision or laparoscopically using minimally invasive tools inserted through tiny incisions.

For patient comfort and safety, bariatric surgery is conducted under general anesthesia. After the operation, patients typically spend a few days in the hospital for monitoring and postoperative care. Proper pain management is important during recovery to ensure optimal healing. With surgical modifications and lifestyle changes, bariatric procedures aim to help patients achieve significant and sustainable weight loss.

Potential Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Like any major surgery, bariatric procedures carry some level of risk, including:

  • Bleeding or perforation of the stomach/intestines. This can be life-threatening.
  • Bowel obstruction from internal hernias may happen years later.
  • Nutritional deficiencies and adrenal failure result from rapid weight loss. May require ongoing treatment.
  • Permanent nutrient deficiencies require long-term supplementation. Less common with gastric banding.
  • Incisional hernias or adhesions causing pain or obstruction during recovery.
  • Gastrointestinal issues like GERD, gallstones, and pancreatitis result from changes in digestion.
  • Worsening of pre-existing eating disorders, depression, or new emotional issues.
  • It’s important to note that bariatric surgery does not guarantee permanent weight loss. Weight gain is possible if high-calorie diets resume.

Despite potential complications, the benefits of significant and sustainable weight loss outweigh the risks for many people. Patients should discuss the pros and cons with their doctor.

How to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

Preparing for bariatric surgery is key to ensuring you fully understand the procedure and feel comfortable moving forward. Your doctor will specify the type of surgery, location, size of incisions, expected effects, and potential side effects. Ask questions to address any concerns before proceeding.

Pre-op testing includes:

  • Imaging like abdominal ultrasound or CT scan to allow surgical planning and check for issues like ulcers or polyps.
  • Bloodwork like complete blood count, liver function, and blood chemistry tests to uncover any abnormalities needing correction pre-surgery, like anemia or low calcium.
  • Anesthesia evaluation with an EKG to assess surgery readiness.
  • Blood collection and storage as a precaution in case a transfusion is needed during surgery.

Thorough preparation, testing, and education aim to optimize surgical outcomes and recovery. Discussing expectations and asking questions is key. Your care team wants to inform you before your bariatric procedure.


Your surgery will occur in an operating room in either a hospital or a surgical center.

What to Wear

Feel free to wear comfortable attire to your surgery appointment. Once you arrive, you’ll be provided with a surgical gown for the procedure.

Food and Drink

Preparing for weight loss surgery involves making important changes to your diet and establishing routines in the months leading up to the procedure. These changes contribute to weight loss, reduce liver size for safer surgery, and help control Type 2 diabetes, minimizing postoperative risks. 

Your dietitian will provide specific instructions tailored to your needs, encompassing guidelines such as:

  • Steer clear of alcohol, sugary drinks, processed foods, and high-fat meats.
  • Ensuring a daily intake of at least 64 ounces of sugar-free fluids.
  • Incorporating non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
  • Boosting consumption of lean proteins, such as chicken or eggs.
  • Adhering to limited portion sizes and opting for more frequent, smaller meals.
  • Cultivating a habit of slower eating.
  • Refrain from consuming liquids with meals, waiting approximately 30 minutes after eating.

As you approach the surgery date, a few weeks beforehand, you’ll transition to a full-liquid diet comprising caffeine-free coffee and tea, low-sodium broth, non-carbonated beverages, protein shakes, sugar-free drinks, and adequate water intake.


Your healthcare provider will provide detailed instructions regarding medication management. If you are on steroids or diabetes medication, there may be adjustments to your prescription dosage. Additionally, you might receive guidance to discontinue or reduce the dosage of blood thinners in the days leading up to your surgery. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you are currently taking.

What to Bring

Ensure you have personal identification, health insurance details, and a payment method for surgery-related expenses. Carry out a list of your medications and their doses. Since your abdomen may be sensitive after surgery, bring loose clothing that provides access to a potential surgical drain. Arrange for someone to drive you home upon discharge from the hospital after the surgery.

As you journey toward bariatric surgery, Orlando Minimally Invasive Surgery guides you at every step. Are you ready to take the next step in your weight loss journey? Schedule your appointment today.