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Very Confused About Pre Op



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Well, some surgeons require some kind of pre-op diet during the period immediately before surgery. Generally it's between 1 and 2 weeks of nothing but liquids and Protein shakes, but this varies widely. Mine didn't require one, for example.

The pre-op diet is required for many different reasons, one common one being to "shrink your liver". Something like 80% of people who are morbidly obese have some level of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or steatohepatitis. Since the part of the stomach that is operated on is partially covered by the liver, the surgeon must lift your liver out of the way. An enlarged liver increases the changes of complications occurring.

Another reason, which might be unspoken, is to test your resolve and compliance with the program, and see if you really want to go through with this. A liquid diet is what you'll be on post-surgery, and the logic is doing it before surgery will help you get used to living this way.

Most people lose a chunk of weight during this time, so it jump-starts your overall weight loss.

The pre-op diet, if it is required, is different from the healthy eating changes you'll need to be working on during your 12 week nutritional class. This is the time that you need to work on your food demons, figure out ways to deal with stress without eating, get the important people in your life on board with your lifestyle changes... that kind of thing. You might be asked to record what you eat, and you might be given a low-calorie diet to follow during this time.

Generally you are expected to maintain your current weight or lose a little. Your weight will probably be recorded weekly or so. For some programs, gaining any additional weight disqualifies you from insurance coverage. Some people find themselves being very successful on the prescribed diet, and decide not to do the surgery after all.

Hope this helps. I know sometimes the information given at the beginning of the WLS journey can be confusing.

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People get 12 weeks of nutritional classes? I only got one 3 hour class. Not all people have the same insurance requirements. The surgeon might have other requirements as well. I notice some folks on a pre-op diet get vegetables and maybe a little meat for dinner. I'm straight liquids :(. One more week to go ....

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I also didn't have 12 classes - my surgeon works for a bariatric center of excellence, and I only had one full day nutrition class. There were also a number of pre-op support groups I could have attended if I chose to. I also didn't have a pre-op diet requirement - I only had to do Clear Liquids the afternoon and evening before surgery. My surgeon said that he'd never had issues with the liver being in the way (not sure if he based that upon my starting weight or with all patients).

It's good that you're already getting yourself in the mindset of eating a 'pre-op' diet - starting to focus on healthy, clean eating now with emphasis on Protein will be a good jump-start for you when you get closer to your surgery date. I'm sure you'll find out a lot more details when you get started.

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every surgeon is different, every pre-op diet and post-op diet is different. One thing they all have in common is that they are low fat, high Protein diets. Lower fat and lower carbs will help to shrink the liver.

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