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Preparing for Your Bariatric Surgery

A successful bariatric surgery requires careful preparation. Shopping for the proper food, packing for your hospital stay and changing your pre-operative diet are just a few of the items on your surgery preparation list.

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Hear from Dr. D'Marco, bariatric surgeon and medical director of Bariatric Surgery



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Keep a pre-op preparation checklist to help you organize and prepare for your surgery.

Pre-Op Preparations

  • Clear liquids only. Depending on which procedure you are having, you may need to stick to a liquid-only diet for up to a week prior to surgery.  Clear liquids include water, apple juice, cranberry juice, decaffeinated  tea without milk, ginger ale, 7-Up/Sprite, etc. Learn more about what is a part of a proper pre-bariatric surgery diet.
  • Pre-surgery tests. Pre-op testing may include a Complete Blood Count (CBC), urinalysis, glucose tolerance, chest x-ray, Electrocardiogram (EKG), and possibly more.
  • Smoking. If you smoke you may be required to quit before surgery.
  • Medications.  Consult with your doctor about what medicines you can and cannot take leading up to your surgery.  You will be asked not to take aspirin before your surgery.
  • Transportation.  Make sure you have someone to drive you home from the hospital. You will not be able to drive yourself home after surgery.

What to Pack for Your Hospital Stay

Depending on what type of surgery you have, your hospital stay can range anywhere from 1 to 5 nights.  
You should talk to your doctor about how long he expects you to stay in the hospital and then pack a bag accordingly.  Include one extra days worth of clothing just to be safe. Always include the following items in your packed bag.
  • Loose pants
  • Oversized shirts/tops
  • Comfortable shoes that slip on and off easily
  • Toothbrush

Preparing Your Home Before Surgery

  • Either hire someone to help keep the house clean or ensure a family member is up to the task.  You will not be able to bend or squat for a period of time after surgery.
  • Clear all walkways in the house - especially between the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen.
  • Ensure that all the laundry is done before you leave for the hospital.
  • If you have pets, arrange to have someone walk and look after them during and immediately after surgery.


Pick up these items before you have your surgery so you have the proper food to eat once you return home from the hospital.
  • Sugar free jello
  • Sugar free pudding
  • Plain yogurt
  • Gatorade
  • 2% cottage cheese singles
  • Fat free 1% milk
  • Egg substitute (in a carton) or egg white product
  • Sugar free popsicles (Edy’s Fruit Bars, No Sugar Added)
  • Protein drinks
  • Crystal Light or Sugar Free Kool-Aid
  • Low fat soups
  • Applesauce - sugar free
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast - Sugar Free (Ready to drink or powder)
  • Whole grain cereal (Post Bran Flakes, 100% Bran, Shredded Wheat, Kashi)
  • Frozen vegetables - not in sauce
  • Benecol, Fleishmann’s Olive Oil Spread
  • Whole grain breads (whole-wheat, pumpernickel, rye)
  • Skinless poultry (turkey, ground turkey, chicken)

Medicine & Supplies to Have at Home

Have the following medications and supplies in the house when you get home from your surgery.
  • Tums
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Tylenol
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Assortment of bandages and medical tape
  • Neosporin
  • A clean basin