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Why should I do a pre-op diet before my Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Most of the times it is common that before a Gastric Sleeve Surgery, patients should go on a pre-op diet. And this is one of the main issues between doctors and patients who are about to have weight loss surgeries performed. 

Going on a preop diet before Gastric Sleeve Surgery, like any other bariatric procedure, has a lot of benefits and also will help you get through your weight loss surgery with a reduced chance of complications.

The first thing you need to know is that the diet before the Gastric Sleeve surgery is going to help you, besides losing weight prior surgery, to preparing your body for the procedure and will help you as well to change your mind set for the post-op phase. The preop diet before a gastric sleeve surgery or any other weight loss procedure is always needed, however the length of the preop diet in terms of days will vary according to each patients current weight before surgery.  The length of time of your preop diet before weight loss surgery will be determined by both the doctor’s indications and the patient’s body mass index (BMI). Patients with a BMI higher than 35 must go on a pre-op diet for a full two weeks before surgery.

Getting ready

It’s very common that many patients think that going on a pre-op diet doesn’t make any sense, or it just does not matter, what’s the point of suffering before surgery or why can’t I eat what I want before I go under the knife? But there are reasons for that too. One of the most important things you need to do before having a Gastric Sleeve surgery or any other bariatric procedure is to reduce the size of your liver and this is exactly what the preop diet does.

Almost everyone who is overweight or obese and especially anyone with a body mass index above 35 has a medical condition known as a "fatty liver", said condition in simple terms is nothing more than the accumulation of adipose tissue (fat) between the liver tissue, which makes the liver grow gradually over time, and this has close relation with the patient's weight gain.

When the liver grows, besides the long-term consequences, it limits the surgeon’s ability to see and work at the time of surgical procedure, since almost all bariatric surgeries involve working in the upper gastrointestinal tract area, which is behind the liver.   Also the work area to perform the gastric sleeve surgery is substantially reduced when the patient does not do the preop diet, imagine working in a very small box with a camera to guide you, as the liver hangs down and in the way the doctor has so much less room to work when the patient does not follow the doctor’s advice and does not do the preop diet.  So, if the liver is not put in check, and made smaller prior to surgery, it will make it harder for the surgeon to access this region, thus increasing the risks of complications during surgery because of the small space the specialist will have to work in.  A liver of an adequate size represents an easier post-op recovery due to the fact that the doctor has less internal organs to move around and also a quicker surgery can be performed meaning less anesthesia and better post-op recovery.

If the patient does not follow the doctor’s advice on following the preop diet before the gastric sleeve surgery, there have been cases in which the procedure must be cancelled or postponed due to the liver’s size. The reason for this is the device that holds the liver apart from the stomach during surgery can only hold so much and if the patient does not do the preop diet, the liver may hang over the separator, and then make it impossible to do the surgery.  If this is the case, once the liver has been reduced in size by a new preop diet, then the patient is able to have his or her weight loss surgery.

There are a few different types of pre-op diets out there, but they all focus on drinking a lot of clear liquids.  As a matter of fact each patient should drink 3 liters of water a day before surgery.  These liquids provide a lot of benefits and one of them is that they will help lower the size of the liver and cleaning up the intestinal tract while it decreases stress in the digestive system.

Dr. Hidalgo at Weight Loss Team in Puerto Vallarta Mexico actually allows his patients to also eat lean protein during the pre-op diet, as well as eat green vegetable and salad with a small amount of Lite Dressing.  This helps keep the patient honest and on the pre-op diet.  The key factor however is getting in the 3 liters of water each day along with everything else.

This is actually the most important reason why you should go on a pre-op diet, however there is another great benefit which you may consider.

Mentally prepared

The pre-op diet will help the patient to prepare psychologically for the post-op phase. As we have said before, one of the main goals of the pre-op diet before Gastric Sleeve surgery is to help the patient become mentally and emotionally prepared for what comes after the procedure. One thing for sure is do not think of the pre-op diet as a suffering stage, it’s better to think about this as a mindset change that will bring great long-term benefits to you.

Patients who are used to high calorie intakes and eating in large amounts must change their eating habits. It is common for some patients to have a daily 10,000 calorie intake, the pre-op diet will be hard for them, but it will help them avoid any complication during surgery as well as help them start a new relationship with food as this is a 800-1000 calorie diet. As you can see it is a drastic change but you will certainly be able to see the benefits, and of course you will feel so much better.

There is no need to worry about going on a pre-op diet. The only consequence of doing it is that you might run the risk of just feeling better. Your recovery will be less difficult, and you will be prepared in advance for the post-op diet. So, stop thinking about it as an obstacle and see it instead as the first step on your journey towards a better and healthier life.

Our staff in Weight Loss Team is ready to assist you, if you have any further doubts about the benefits of the pre-op diet, please feel free to contact us.

You can also visit our website, where you can find more information about Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Mexico:

Photo: GSC Blog


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