Laparoscopic Surgery for Severe (Morbid) Obesity Patient Information from SAGES

What are the Advantages of the Laparoscopic Obesity Surgery?

Advantages of the laparoscopic approach include:

  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Fewer wound complications
  • Faster return to work
  • Improved cosmesis

Who Should Be Considered for Laparoscopic Obesity Surgery?

The following guidelines for selecting patients for obesity surgery were established by the National Institute of Health:

  1. Patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥ 40 kg/m2 or BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 with at least one obesity-related condition (type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc.).
  2. Patients should have no known metabolic (chemical breakdown of food into energy) or endocrine (hormone) causes for the morbid obesity.
  3. Patients should have an objectively measurable complication (physical, psychological, social, or economic) that might benefit from weight reduction. This includes hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes (too much sugar in the blood), heart disease, breathing problems or lung disease, sleep apnea (snoring), and arthritis, just to name a few.
  4. The patient should understand the full importance of the proposed surgical procedure including suspected risks and complications.
  5. The patient should be willing to be observed and followed by a medical professional for many years.
  6. The patient should have attempted weight reduction using medical treatment without success.

What Preparation Is Required?

  • A thorough medical evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for laparoscopic obesity
    surgery by your physician.
  • Supplemental diagnostic tests may be necessary, including a nutritional evaluation.
  • A psychiatric or psychological evaluation may be required to determine the patient’s ability to adjust to changes after the operation.
  • Consultation from specialists, such as a cardiologist, pulmonologist, or endocrinologist may be needed depending on your own specific medical condition.
  • Continued participation in an Obesity Support Group is encouraged
  • A written consent for surgery will be needed after the surgeon reviews the potential risks and benefits of the operation.
  • Blood transfusion and/or blood products such as platelets may be needed depending on your condition.
  • Your surgeon may request that you completely empty your colon and cleanse your intestines prior to surgery.
  • It is recommended that you shower the night before or morning of the operation.
  • After midnight the night before the operation, you should not eat or drink anything except medications that your surgeon has told you are permissible to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
  • Drugs such as aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications (arthritis medications) and Vitamin E will need to be stopped temporarily for several days to a week prior to surgery.
  • Diet medication or St. John’s Wort should not be used for the two weeks prior to surgery.
  • It is highly recommended, and sometimes required, that you quit smoking prior to surgery.
  • Arrange for any help you may need at home.
  • If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine at home, you should bring it with you to the hospital on the day of surgery.

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March 1, 2015
This brochure is intended to provide a general overview of a surgery. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical care or a discussion between you and your surgeon about the need for a surgery. Specific recommendations may vary among health care professionals. If you have a question about your need for a surgery, your alternatives, billing or insurance coverage, or your surgeons training and experience, do not hesitate to ask your surgeon or his/her office staff about it. If you have questions about the operation or subsequent follow up, discuss them with your surgeon before or after the operation.