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Before Surgery

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What to Bring to the Hospital (PDF)






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Select a link below for useful information about preparing for your surgery.

Surgical Weight Loss “Boot Camp”

AtlantiCare patients and their supports persons participate in Surgical Weight Loss “Boot Camp” at least one week before surgery.This orientation session is designed to get you acquainted with the various healthcare professionals you will work with and the roles they play in your treatment. The information you receive prepares you for success before, during and after surgery.

At Surgical Weight Loss “Boot Camp,” you will:

    • Receive instructions regarding self-care before and after surgery;
    • Learn the steps you and your care team will take to:
    • Prevent pneumonia – such as deep breathing, coughing and using a device that measures air flow from your lungs;
    • Prevent blood clots – such as using compression boots while in bed, taking blood thinning medication and walking shortly after your procedure;
    • Control your pain – including using a Patient-Controlled Analgesic (PCA) pump to direct the delivery of pain medication immediately after surgery;
    • Review preoperative instructions;
    • Receive a “Goodie Bag” especially developed for our bariatric patients.

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Preadmission Testing

Within two weeks of your surgery date, you will receive routine laboratory evaluations, including blood work, pulmonary function studies, heart studies (EKG and echocardiography) and other tests to ensure that you are medically ready for surgery. You will also meet with a member of the anesthesia team and will be able to discuss any issues you have with the anesthesia process.

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Preoperative Meeting with Surgeon

Once your lab results are available, you will again meet with your surgeon and review the studies. At this visit, you will also:

  • Weigh in – If a patient has gained more than five percent of his/her weight since the first consultation, the surgeon will ask the patient to lose the weight before surgery, especially if the individual is in a higher risk category (male, BMI greater than 50, over 50 years of age).
  • Complete a written test – containing 20 true/false questions regarding the surgical procedure you will undergo. All patients are required to take this test and achieve a passing grade of 80 percent to verify that they understand the surgery, the risks and benefits, and the lifestyle changes required for a successful outcome.
  • Sign consent forms giving permission for the procedure to be performed.

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What to Do the Day Before Surgery

  • Relax! Take time to get some rest so that you are better prepared mentally and physically for surgery and your hospital stay.
  • Talk to your coach for a last-minute pep talk.
  • Give yourself a facial scrub to remove dry, flaking skin – especially on your lips. Since you can’t drink at all the day of surgery, any dry skin on your face will seem exaggerated.
  • Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.

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What to Bring to the Hospital

A few basic supplies will make your hospital stay more comfortable and help with your recovery. But, don’t over pack.

We recommend:

  • A robe and pair of new, soft pajamas to wear once you no longer need a hospital gown. These pajamas should either have a drawstring or be loose around the waist (a tight elastic waistband won’t be comfortable).
  • Your incentive spirometer that you will receive in Surgical Weight Loss “Boot Camp” – a device that helps prevent pneumonia following surgery.
  • Your “Buddy Pillow” (also provided at Boot Camp), which for a while after surgery will become your constant companion. The pillow helps support your abdomen when you cough or breathe deeply, reducing pain.
  • Chap Stick®, Blistex®, DTC® or other lip balm products to ease dryness following surgery.
  • Toothbrush, glasses and other items that you need on a daily basis.
  • If you have Sleep Apnea, you must bring your CPAP or BiPap mask and settings to the hospital. If you are not sure what your settings are, please check with your Pulmonologist.

Please leave your jewelry at home.

Also, we ask that you don’t bring your suitcase with you when you check in for surgery. Leave your suitcase in the car and have a family member bring it to you after you get to your hospital room.

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Shopping List: What You Need Before Returning Home From the Hospital

From the supermarket, we recommend that you have on hand:

  • Clear broth (we suggest broth sold in resealable boxes, allowing leftovers to be easily stored for later use).
  • Sugar-free Jell-O®. (If you can’t have NutraSweet®/aspartame, you can make your own flavored gelatin by mixing plain gelatin with unsweetened Kool-Aid® and Splenda® – or plain gelatin and 4C® brand drink mix flavored with Splenda. If you like Isopure® protein drinks, try substituting them for water for a protein boost.)
  • Cream soups, like Campbell’s® cream of chicken and cream of mushroom (for week two following surgery). You will need to strain these soups to remove solids.
  • Cream of wheat (for week two following surgery).
  • Skim milk. Try Skim Plus® or Skinny Cow® brands, which are creamier and have more nutrients than plain skim milk (11 grams versus 8 grams of protein). Use skim milk, Skim Plus or Skinny Cow to mix with cream soups and cream of wheat for week two following surgery
  • Sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages (such as Crystal Light® and 4C) if you want some variety.
  • A bariatric vitamin formula (buy chewable, spray or liquid vitamins – not capsules that are swallowed whole).

If you have back problems, you may want to consider buying a wedge pillow to use at home in bed. You can buy these pillows at medical supply stores. While in the hospital, try sleeping in the reclining chair in your room to ease back pain.

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