Diet Before Bariatric Surgery

As you gear up for your bariatric surgery in Tucson, there will be quite a few items on your to-do list. Stop bad habits, start being more active, and arrange for help at home during recovery, just to name a few.

Another item that will be on your list? Starting the pre-op diet.

Diet Before Bariatric Surgery

Why You Need a Pre-Surgery Diet

Bariatric procedures by nature impact the digestive system. To safely operate on the stomach, and in some cases, the intestines, the digestive tract needs to be cleared out.

However, just clearing out the digestive tract is less intensive than the typical pre-bariatric surgery diet. This is because the goal of this diet isn’t just to leave the digestive system clear of food and waste. It is also to shrink the liver.

Most people with a BMI high enough to qualify for bariatric surgery will also have fatty liver disease. This is a condition where excess fat cells gather on the liver. Since the liver is located near the stomach, it poses an excess risk when enlarged. Decreasing liver size means a safer and faster procedure.

Other benefits to following the pre-op diet include:

  • Protecting muscle tissue
  • Improving overall health
  • Positioning the patient for an easier recovery

What to Expect From the Pre-Surgery Diet

Your pre-op diet will be customized to meet your needs. Once you are approved for surgery and your procedure is scheduled, your surgeon will connect you with a dietician to design your plan.

The cornerstone of this will be the liquid foods before bariatric surgery. However, this isn’t all there is to the plan.

Most dieticians will have you start the pre-op diet anywhere from a few weeks to an entire month before your procedure. It usually begins with restricting certain foods and medications and reducing the consumption of fats, sugar, and carbs.

Then, usually around a week to a few days before the procedure, the all-liquid diet begins. This usually progresses from liquids in general to a clear liquid diet that starts 24 hours before surgery.

Other changes you may need to make include:

  • Not drinking alcohol
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding binge eating
  • Not taking supplements unless directed to by the dietician

Keep in mind that different bariatric surgeries can require different forms of preparation. Be certain to choose the right bariatric procedure for you and to follow the pre-op plan prescribed to you by your dietician.