From an Accredited Practising Dietitian


Frequently Asked Questions Before Bariatric Surgery

What can I do before surgery to improve my outcomes from surgery?

Getting a comprehensive blood test before surgery can be useful to correct any deficiencies and monitor any changes.

Reflecting on your eating and seeking advice about your diet can significantly improve your surgery experience.

Weight loss surgery is a big decision and unfortunately is not a 'magic bullet' for weight loss; it still requires long term commitment. Gradual changes to your lifestyle BEFORE surgery can make the transition a lot easier and more successful.

Seeing a dietitian prior to surgery and for follow up afterwards has been shown to improve nutrition status and maximise long-term weight loss.

Should I be using a meal replacement in the lead up to surgery?

The use of meal replacements (e.g. shakes) before surgery is largely up to the surgeon and what they deem appropriate for you. Having meal replacements or a very low energy diet (VLED) before surgery has been shown to reduce complications during the operation itself. In most cases, if meal replacements are used correctly, this process will also result in some weight loss in the lead up to surgery. Talk to your surgeon and dietitian about whether meal replacements may be suitable for you.

What could I expect from a visit to a Dietitian before surgery?

Your first visit to a dietitian will likely include collecting information about your medical history, discussing your motivations for surgery, talking through your current eating patterns and answering any questions you may have about nutrition. If needed, it may involve addressing any dietary habits that may impact on the success of your surgery. Follow up visits will discuss your progress, pre and post surgery dietary requirements and ongoing support for symptoms that may arise.

What do I eat straight after surgery?

For the first 1-2 weeks following surgery, usually a liquid diet is required. This allows your stomach to recover from surgery. Following this, you would start on a pureed diet then progress to a soft food diet. From approximately 7 weeks after surgery, you will gradually reintroduce solid foods and increase the variety of foods eaten. The exact time frames will be explained by your surgeon. It is important to have adequate protein in your diet to avoid muscle loss after surgery.

Do I really need multivitamins after surgery and which one is best?

This is something that depends on the type of surgery you have, the types of foods you are eating after surgery and any signs/symptoms you are showing that point to deficiency.

Generally, all people having a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures will need to take a multivitamin lifelong. It is best to start a chewable bariatric-specific multivitamin soon after surgery and have follow up blood tests. You can talk to your dietitian about how to take multivitamins, what to ask for as part of your blood tests and how long you need your multivitamin for.

Transformed has BN Multi chewable multivitamins available for purchase.

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