Before (Your) Weight-Loss Surgery

What Testing Needs To Be Done Before Surgery?

Your doctor may request some tests to confirm your health status for obesity surgery. These tests may include:

  • Gallbladder ultrasound
  • Upper GI series (Stomach X-ray)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Laboratory blood testing
  • Urinalysis
  • Sleep study
  • Mammo / Dexascans

What Should I Know Before My Operation?

You will be instructed to attend a pre-surgical assessment. Any pre-operative labs and tests will be done during this time. If you are a female of child bearing age a pregnancy test is mandatory unless you have had a hysterectomy or tubal ligation. You are asked to bring proof of insurance, a list of the medications you are taking, including any supplements, and a list of any allergies to food or medication you have. Be sure and bring a copy of your Living Will and/or Advanced Directive to the pre-surgical assessment appointment.

It is very important to bring all your documents regarding your surgery from the physicians' office with you. A nurse and an anesthesiologist will interview you and ask you about your medical and surgical history; they will also have you state in your own words what your procedure will be and verify if this is correct.

You will be required to attend a mandatory Pre-Op Education and Nutrition Class. It is a one-hour class that will give you instructions related to the surgery (pre-op and post-op) and the post-op diet.

You will be instructed to go to the Peri-op area on the day of surgery. A nurse will assist you in preparing for surgery and an IV will be started in your arm, which is necessary to maintain your body fluids. Usually the IV is in your forearm or the back of your hand but the exact placement depends on your body structure. The nurse will also give you a pair of compression stockings and apply a sequential compression device (SCD) or plexi pulse boots to your legs or feet, which is necessary to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.

You will be taken down to the operating room holding area, where you will meet a registered nurse. She will ask you questions regarding your health and make sure you have been informed of the risks and benefits to your surgery. You will also meet with an anesthesiologist and/or certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA). They will explain to you that medication will be injected into your I.V. line, which will put you to sleep during the surgery. After surgery you will wake up in the recovery room.

It is normal to have questions regarding your care; you should write down your questions to help you remember them.

How Do I Prepare For Surgery?

There are steps you can take now to ensure that you are in the best possible health prior to your operation. We want to help you stay in the best frame of mind, good health and focus on exercise, good eating habits and hygiene.

Smokers must quit a month before surgery! Smoking decreases the capacity of the lungs to function and can be just as dangerous to your health. Studies have shown that smoking can delay the healing process, so to assist us in your recovery process we ask that you quit smoking as soon as you have made your decision for surgery, but no later than 30 days.

Start an exercise program that will fit your lifestyle. Any exercise, including walking for 30 minutes, three times a week, will improve your health. By starting before your surgery you will make it easier for your body to recover. Consult your physician prior to any new vigorous exercise programs.

Several days before surgery, begin paying special attention to your body while you are in the shower. Clean under any skin folds in the upper chest area and also below your waist.

Make sure to brush your teeth several times a day. Good oral hygiene is important. The mouth can harbor many different bacteria that can cause infection.

Finally, medications such as Aspirin, Motrin or Aleve (also known as NSAID's or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) must be stopped at least 10 days before surgery to prevent any bleeding complications unless your physician requires you to continue these medications. After surgery, it is important to remember you must NEVER take these medications again because they can cause an ulcer.

What Do I Need To Pack For My Stay?

We recommend that you pack several days before your surgery to minimize stress. If you think you may need an item from home to increase your comfort, we suggest you bring it.

Toiletry Items

You will need to bring all your basic toiletry items. Ladies, if you are on your cycle during surgery, pack some sanitary pads and tampons.

  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Hair care items
  • Hair clip or tie to keep up hair
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Comb or brush
  • Lip balm or chap stick
  • Sanitary pads
  • Antibacterial hand gel (if you prefer)
  • Flushable wipes for bathroom (if you prefer)
  • Any hygiene assist device you may use at home


The hospital provides larger-sized gowns. Hospital gowns are designed to make maneuvering around IV tubing and other tubes and drains easy. It is not recommended that you bring your own nightgown because if they get soiled or stained from any drainage it just adds to your laundry when you get home. In addition, your own gown will be harder to manipulate with your IV and at dressing change time. If you feel that your own clothes will make you more comfortable, please pack at least 2 or 3 night gowns just in case. It is also recommended that you not take your own bathrobe. Instead of using your own bathrobe, use a second hospital gown as a robe. You can drape it around your shoulders so that the tie is at the front instead of the back.

  • Slip-on slippers (non-skid sole)
  • Soft sports bra
  • Loose roomy underwear
  • Loose roomy outfit to wear home
  • Comfortable shoes to wear home
  • Socks
  • Roomy bathrobe and nightgowns (only if you prefer as we recommend using our gowns for a nightgown and bathrobe)


Do not bring any money with you to the hospital. If you think you may need money to make a phone call, bring a pre-paid calling card instead.


Do not take your jewelry. Remove all your jewelry before going to the hospital and leave it at home.

Entertainment and other items

  • One to two pillows from home for your comfort
  • Back scratcher (if you prefer)
  • Portable CD player with earphones
  • Books, magazines or crossword puzzles
  • Pre-paid calling card

What Happens During My Operation?

You will be wheeled into the operating room by your nurse and will be asked to move to another bed. This bed is narrow and the nurse will put a safety belt across your legs to help remind you of that. To ensure your safety, your nurse will ask you the same questions the holding room nurse asked and she also will introduce you to the surgical team, which may consist of nurses, scrub technicians and anesthesia assistants. The anesthesiologist and/or certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will then put you to sleep.

Just before the surgery, a urinary catheter will be inserted into your bladder to monitor your urine output. If you have chest hair, it may be shaved and then your chest and abdomen will be washed and painted with a betadine/alcohol solution that will help reduce the risk of infection. The operation will begin shortly after this step and can last one to three hours depending on the circumstances.

You may spend one to three hours in the recovery room when you wake up, and you may notice several people working around you; they are there for your care and protection. They are there to remind you where you are, that you just had an operation. There is no cause for alarm or worry. From the recovery room you may go to the surgical intensive nursing unit (SINU), progressive care unit (PCU) or to a nursing floor at Baptist Hospital.