Patient Guide to Bariatric Surgery

April 15, 2019

Your Guide To Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

What To Expect and How To Prepare

Weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, can be an effective way to lose weight. At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, your bariatric surgery team gives you the personalized attention you need to succeed.

You’ll get instructions from your doctor about your specific type of surgery, how you should prepare, and what to expect during your recovery. Read through this guide for tips as you prepare for bariatric surgery.

Appointments Before Surgery

You will have several appointments to help you prepare for your surgery, including a teaching class with your nurse and dietitian, and a visit to the Preop Center to learn what to expect the day of your surgery. You’ll also have a visit with your anesthesiologist and your surgeon or another provider who will give you a physical exam and ask questions about your health. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have.

The day before your surgery, call the Preop Center at 781-744-8118 to find out what time you should arrive. If your surgery is on a Monday, call after noon on the Friday before.


Your provider will go over your individual list of medications when you see us within one month of your surgery. Because some medications increase the risk of bleeding, we will likely ask you to stop taking certain medicines at specific times before your surgery.

Your Diet

You’ll need to make some changes to your diet to get ready for bariatric surgery. Your provider will explain in detail the steps you will take, beginning with the New Direction protein diet at least two weeks before your surgery. Starting at midnight the night before your surgery, you’ll limit your diet to certain liquids. Two hours before you arrive at the hospital you’ll stop eating and drinking altogether. You can take medications with a sip of water.

Lowering Your Risk of Surgical Complications

There’s a lot you can do to help ensure your surgery goes smoothly and you don’t have problems afterward. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Try to lose weight, since that can help your surgery go more smoothly. Also, gaining weight can mean your surgery needs to be canceled.

Your provider will also give you instructions for practicing coughing and deep breathing, which need to be done after surgery to keep your lungs clear and prevent pneumonia.

The Day of Surgery

It’s normal to be a little anxious on the day of your surgery. At Lahey, you can be confident your team understands your specific condition, your needs and your goals. We’ll give you detailed instructions about what to bring with you to the hospital and what to leave at home. We’ll also let you and your family know how the day will proceed, such as when to arrive, when your surgery will be, and when your family and friends can see you afterward.

After Bariatric Surgery

Most people spend one or two nights in the hospital after bariatric surgery. Before you go home, your team will give you specific instructions on caring for yourself after surgery.  We’ll let you know when to resume your normal activities, when you can start driving, and what medications to take and which ones to avoid. You can shower right away, but don’t bath or use a hot tub until your incisions are well healed. We’ll also give you a nutrition handbook that explains the stages of eating and drinking after bariatric surgery.

Other Important Details

After bariatric surgery, most people have questions and concerns about how their weight loss is going. Remember that you need to continue to work hard to reach your weight-loss goals. Eat healthy foods, keep exercising, and don’t worry if your weight loss slows down a few weeks after surgery. This is normal and common, and you will continue to lose weight.

Be sure to keep your follow-up appointments so we can monitor your recovery and catch any problems early. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please call the Surgical Weight Loss Center at 781-744-3044.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.