It is natural for patients to want to know everything they can before and after weight loss surgery, so their surgeon will make sure to provide the necessary information for these procedures. Part of the process is having appropriate lab testing done before the surgery, and to continue utilizing the lab tests to monitor the patient’s health throughout their recovery. Lab testing, in fact, is just as essential as the surgery itself, as it allows patients and their doctors to address any concerns and better understand the risks.
There are many factors to consider before going through bariatric surgery. Since each patient is different, tailoring bariatric procedures to meet their needs is essential. Therefore, scheduling frequent lab visits before surgery helps determine the requirements for each person.
Before any bariatric procedure, doctors will need to examine whether or not a patient is physically eligible for surgery. First, they will require a patient’s medical history to determine any health concerns that may cause future complications. They will then conduct tests such as a blood count, a gallbladder ultrasound to check for gallstones, urinalysis, and a chemistry panel to provide specific blood results. Testing like X-rays, pulmonary function, sleep studies, or even cardiology and psychiatric evaluations may be necessary. Surgery causes natural cardiac stress, so a heart evaluation is also part of this preparation. Some of these evaluations are requirements from insurance companies and others are at the request of the physician.
Patients with diabetes will need to take additional precautions, so those who have diabetes must undergo other tests to help control their blood sugar before, during, and after the procedure. These tests will identify any possible liver malfunction and the number of fat cells in the blood. They will also indicate any excessive tissue fluid or abnormalities in body fluids.
Surgeons will recommend pre-op lab visits to prepare a diet plan before surgery. Pre-Op diets differ according to patients, doctors, and procedures. Most important, patients need a well-balanced diet to reduce the risks of any bariatric surgical procedure. While these diets reflect the needs of each patient, most of the guidelines are fairly standard. One of the primary goals of a pre-op diet is to reduce the amount of fat surrounding the liver and stomach because lowering fat and reducing the size of the liver helps prevent excessive surgical bleeding.
Another benefit from a proper pre-op diet is to protect muscle tissue. Surgeons will recommend an increased intake of protein-rich foods such as fish, meats, eggs, and protein shakes. A diet high in protein helps keep the body from using muscle tissue for energy instead of fat and also increases recovery rate. Doctors will suggest the removal of alcohol and to decrease the intake of carbohydrates, sugar, and specific over the counter medications. Overall, a pre-op diet is will increase weight loss and prepare patients for a healthy post-op diet.
Significant lifestyle changes happen after bariatric surgery, so your doctor will continue to monitor a patient long after the procedure occurs. They will also educate patients about what to expect and perform several follow up evaluations. It is vital that patients take care of themselves and attend these evaluations to maximize the benefits and address any complications from their surgery. Doctors will require an initial lab visit two weeks after surgery to check abdominal scarring and review medications. Patients will typically return 4, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery. Finally, doctors strongly suggest annual visits to continue monitoring their patients health.
For the 4, 12, 18, and 24-month post-op visits, doctors will want to monitor progress while the patient slowly moves from a liquid to solid food diet. In almost all cases, they will also require the patient to incorporate lifetime post-operative vitamin and mineral supplements such as iron and vitamins A, thiamine (B1), B12, or others. During these visits, doctors provide extensive lab testing of blood and body fluids to monitor ferritin, iron saturation, and other essential vitamin levels. Some patients will require additional sleep studies or bone density tests.
And finally, once the patient completes the initial follow up appointments, they are strongly urged to continue to meet with their doctor at least once a year to keep track of his or her progress.
Doctors recommend lab visits because they want patients to be as comfortable as possible before surgery. They also want to have all the information that they need to determine whether or not a bariatric procedure is necessary or even possible in the first place. Remember, there is no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to bariatric surgery.
The Bariatric Experts recently relocated to Denton, Texas! Our new address is the Medical City Denton Professional Office Building, Suite 203, 3537 South Interstate 35E, Denton, TX 76210. This is convenient for people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and easily accessible to those in West, East, North and Central Texas. Dr. Scott Stowers has been performing medical services in Texas for more than twenty years and is board certified. His stellar credentials include being a Fellow of the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery. He uses the most advanced, minimally invasive procedures to ensure his patients recover fast and endure less risk during the surgery and healing processes. The majority of his patients are referrals from prior bariatric patients, a testament to his knowledge and skill as a surgeon. If you are considering Bariatric Surgery, do not hesitate to contact us for more information. We have financing options and offer assistance in navigating the insurance processes.