Family Members: Caring for a Loved One After Bariatric Surgery

Part of any successful bariatric surgery is after-care and lifestyle changes. Surgery itself is just one part of the weight loss process; it is the tool that the patient receives to kickstart weight loss and be able to manage it appropriately. True success is measured by the lifestyle changes that are implemented following surgery; and a huge part of that success is the involvement of the patient’s family members.


The importance of support following surgery can’t be overstated; it is absolutely crucial for a patient’s success. It provides them the footing on which to build their new life and a safe place in which to share. Weight loss surgery and the life that follows is an emotional journey; just as much as a physical journey. A community of support is integral to the process.


So how can family members prepare for their loved one’s bariatric surgery and their recovery?


  • Learn about the surgery they are having as if you were having the surgery yourself. It’s important to understand what to expect leading up to the surgery as well as the day of the surgery.


  • Talk to their doctor about how to give the best care following surgery. How can you help them stay comfortable? How can you help them manage pain? What should you be looking for in terms of any complications or infection?


  • Support them by implementing and maintaining after-surgery dietary goals. This is a new life and having the entire family involved in making the change can dramatically increase their chances for long term success.


  • Provide as much emotional support as possible. People who have undergone weight loss surgery will experience a range of emotions through their journey and it helps to have a strong and supportive community surrounding them where they feel safe to share and work through what they’re feeling.


We invite prospective patients and their families to attend one of our free seminars and please feel free to contact us at the Nicholson Clinic for more information about what to expect from bariatric surgery.


Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

If you’ve made the decision to have bariatric surgery, you certainly may feel a huge sense of relief; you’ve taken the time to learn about your options, determined what was right for you, and set a date to undergo the procedure that could ultimately change your life. This is an exciting time in your life in which you can begin to take charge of your health and do something for yourself that can extend your life.


With surgery on the horizon, it is important to prepare appropriately so that you can optimize your chances for success in your health and weight loss management.


  • Make sure you understand the details of the surgical procedures you have chosen; what to expect the day of the surgery in terms of pre-op and post-op procedures.


  • Complete all pre-admission paperwork and testing.


  • Talk to your doctor about how to prepare for the surgery at home. What should your diet be in preparation for the surgery? What exercise should you be doing if any? Is there anything else you should be doing to prepare?


  • If you’re a smoker, stop before surgery. Smoking increases your chances of developing infections following the surgery.


  • Stop taking Aspirin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, etc. prior to surgery as they can thin the blood. Talk to your doctor about any other medications that you are currently taking.


  • What level of pain and discomfort can you expect following your surgery? What are your options for pain relief?


  • What can you expect after surgery? How long can you expect to be recovering? What are the symptoms of any potential complications?


  • What are the follow-up procedures following surgery? When do you meet with your surgeon for follow-up visits and how often?


  • What is your diet following surgery? It is important to consider how your diet will change after surgery and how your lifestyle choices will impact your success.


Contact the Nicholson Clinic today for more information about preparing for bariatric surgery or attend one of our free seminars to learn more!