It is very important that you are as healthy as possible before the operation and that you continue to do your best to lose weight. You are also strongly advised to stop smoking at least 6-8 weeks prior to your surgery. Your GP/Practice Nurse will be able to provide advice on this.
Patients attending for weight loss surgery
As well as seeing the Surgeon at your initial consultation you will also be seen by a Dietitian who will obtain your diet history and give you dietary advice for before and after the operation. You will be required to follow a strict diet for two weeks prior to your operation. This is in order to shrink your liver size to aid the operation. (The guide to this in pdf format is available in the downloads section) You may also be seen by the Bariatric nurse who will discuss the operation with you and discuss the lifestyle changes you will need to make to ensure you get the best results from your surgery.
Before coming in for your surgery, you will be asked to attend for a pre-operative assessment in the Outpatients Department, this will take place 10-14 days prior to the date of your admission.
Preparing for Surgery
You should have nothing to eat for at least 6 hours before your operation. You may drink water-based fluids that do not contain milk for up to 3 hours before surgery. (If you are diabetic, specific instructions will be discussed with you at your pre-operative assessment.) If your mouth is dry, you may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out without swallowing any water.
After the operation (Post-operative Care)
When you are back in your room, the nurse will continue to monitor your blood pressure and pulse at regular intervals for several hours. You will have a drip (intravenous infusion) until you are tolerating fluids by mouth.
You will not be allowed a drink until one hour after your surgery.
Anaesthetics can sometimes make people feel sick. It is important that you inform the nurse immediately if you feel sick, as you can be given medication to alleviate this.
The small wounds on your abdomen will normally be glued; if the glued wounds open slightly, do not worry, this sometimes happens and all that is required is a simple dressing.
It is likely that you will require some pain relief following the surgery. If you are in pain, you must tell the nurse so that prescribed pain relief can be administered to you promptly.
You will be instructed in deep breathing to minimize lung congestion after surgery. You should breathe deeply 2-3 times every hour to help keep your lungs clear.
You will be given an anti-coagulant (blood thinning) injection whilst you are in hospital and you may be required to wear a pair of elastic stockings (called TEDS) to help maintain the circulation in the deep veins in your legs. The nurse will encourage you to move your legs at regular intervals whilst you are in bed to help prevent deep vein thrombosis. As soon as you are awake enough you will be encouraged to get up and move around. It is important that you mobilize as soon as possible to reduce the risk of blood clots.
You will start on sips of fluids one hour after your surgery and, if tolerated, you will be able to progress to free fluids. Please see the separate diet sheets explaining the dietary requirements after Laparoscopic bariatric (weight loss) or antireflux surgery in the downloads section.
You will usually be discharged the day following your surgery, if you have Laparoscopic surgery. This may vary according to your own personal circumstances and the complexity of the operation.
Wound Care - Your wounds are usually glued together, and require no after care, but do observe for signs of infection as listed below. It is safe to shower after the surgery but long soaks in the bath ought to be avoided for the first week. The wounds can be patted dry after washing.
Dos and Don'ts
Lifting - You should avoid heavy lifting for four weeks. Very strenuous exhertion should be avoided for 12 weeks after antireflux surgery.