Before Your Operation
It is very important that you lose at least a small amount of weight prior to your surgery. Some patients find this confusing: why should I have to lose weight before the operation, if I’m having the operation to help me lose weight? The answer is simple. Your liver is a large organ that sits right in front of your stomach. When you lose weight (even if it’s only a few pounds) much of the weight comes from your liver. This means that your liver gets smaller, making it easier for the surgeon to gain access to your stomach.
Unfortunately, some patients take the wrong approach, eating “like there’s no tomorrow” before their surgery. This makes their liver grow, and become infiltrated with fat. A fatty liver is heavy, brittle, and more likely to suffer injury during surgery. Needless to say, a liver injury during surgery can be extremely serious! This is why it is so important to avoid this trap, and to lose, not gain, before your operation. There is no single diet that works for everyone during this time — most patients use a diet that has worked (at least temporarily) for them in the past.
For 2 weeks prior to surgery, you will be placed on an 800 Kcal diet, details of which will be provided to you by the nutritionist closer to the time of surgery. For the 2 days immediately prior to surgery, you should follow a diet of clear liquids only. This will help to clear your small intestine of any solid material that could potentially interfere with surgery. You can continue the liquids until midnight the night before your surgery. At that point, you need to be strictly NPO — nothing by mouth. During this NPO time after midnight, it is still OK to take medications with a small sip of water. But remember, no breakfast, coffee or ANYTHING BESIDES MEDICATION the morning of your operation!
The Day of Your Operation
You will come to hospital on the day of your surgery. We probably will not know the exact time of your operation until the day before your operation. One of our staff members will call you to tell you exactly when to arrive. Most patients are instructed to arrive 2 hours before their surgery. This gives you time to meet your anesthesiologist, get an I.V. placed, and get some premedication to help you relax before surgery.
The Actual Surgery
Your operation may be as short as 1 1/2 hours, or up to 4 hours or even more, depending upon your weight, your prior surgery, and the complexity of the operation you’re having. Your family can wait in the surgical waiting area. At the end of your surgery, your surgeon will come down to speak with your family.
After your operation, you will go to the Recovery Room, known officially as the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to recover from anesthesia.