Bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band surgery, require patients to change their diet after surgery. Patients will adopt a lower calorie, lower carbohydrate (especially lower sugar), and higher protein diet. This diet is designed to help patients maximize weight loss while preserving their lean muscle. They will need to follow a version of this diet for the rest of their lives in order to maintain their weight loss.
While patients are aware of the diet they will need to follow after their gastric sleeve surgery, many patients are surprised to learn that they will also have a special diet to follow before their weight loss surgery. Some patients think that this step isn’t necessary since they will be on a special diet following their bariatric surgery. Some see these last few weeks prior to their surgery as their last hurrah or their last opportunity to eat how they want. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The pre-op diet is important for a few reasons. If you have morbid obesity, you most likely also have a fatty liver. Fat cells accumulate in and around the liver, which makes the liver larger than it should. Since your stomach is just to the left of your liver, a larger liver makes it more difficult for bariatric surgeons to safely operate. By following your pre-op diet, you can quickly shrink the size of your liver, which can make your bariatric surgery safer and increase the chances of it being performed laparoscopically. Laparoscopic bariatric surgery generally has reduced surgery times, smaller incisions, and a quicker and less painful recovery.
Following the pre-op diet also helps to prepare the patient for their post op diet. Dr. Shillingford’s patients will begin preparing for their gastric sleeve surgery by reducing portions, choosing lower calorie foods, reducing sugar and desserts, avoiding carbonated beverages, begin weaning off caffeine, start practicing chewing their foods thoroughly, and sip fluids instead of using a straw. These are dietary changes that may require some time to get used to and prior to surgery is the best opportunity to begin forming these new habits. If these changes are impossible for patients to incorporate into their lifestyle, it is a good warning that they may not be ready for their bariatric surgery or they may not have successful results following their gastric sleeve surgery. Usually two weeks before the scheduled surgery date, a more specific pre-op diet should be followed. This will be discussed with Dr. Shillingford during your pre-op appointment.
After bariatric surgery, the patient’s body will go through a lot of changes which can be nutritionally taxing. By choosing healthy and nutrient dense foods before surgery, you are giving your body the protein, vitamins, and minerals it needs to be ready for the surgery and recovery it will face.
The pre-op diet before gastric sleeve surgery (as well as gastric bypass or lap band surgery) is crucial and must not be skipped. Dr. Shillingford’s patients will be given specific information on their pre-op diet when they have scheduled their bariatric surgery.
Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA is a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic, robotic, and bariatric surgery. His gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients receive top notch care at Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where Dr Shillingford proudly serves as Medical Director. Follow up care for Dr. Shillingford’s weight loss surgery patients in his Boca Raton office, which is is conveniently located for his patients who often travel from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Naples, Orlando, and Jacksonville for their bariatric surgery. If you or a loved one is considering gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery, schedule a free informational session with Dr. Shillingford by calling (561) 483-8840.