Losing Weight Before Bariatric Surgery
Losing weight before you have bariatric surgery may help you achieve your ultimate weight-loss goals. That’s what new research suggests, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Researchers found that people lost more weight after surgery if they dropped at least 8 percent of their excess weight before they had their procedure.
How much more weight did they lose after surgery? When compared to people who didn’t lose weight before surgery, they enjoyed 7.5 percent greater weight loss at the one-year mark post-surgery.
Chalk it up to what surgeons call “the honeymoon period” of bariatric surgery.
“After a year or year and a half, your body starts to figure out what it can and can’t do, and your behaviors may change a little bit, so the odds that you are going to lose a significant amount of weight after that time period are definitely decreased,” said study co-author John D. Scott, MD, FACS, FASMBS, the metabolic and bariatric surgery director of Greenville Health System, South Carolina in a news release. “Therefore, the more weight you can lose during that honeymoon period, the better, because that effort will help establish a set point, in terms of where your steady weight is going to be further down the road.”
The study, led by Deborah A. Hutcheon, DCN, RD, LD, clinical nutrition specialist at GHS, analyzed whether following a a short-term, surgeon-recommended diet before surgery could affect ultimate weight loss. More than 350 patients followed a four-week low-calorie diet before undergoing their bariatric operation. They had either sleeve gastrectomy or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
“Our ultimate goal was to see what makes postoperative outcomes better for our patients undergoing this lifesaving procedure,” Scott said.
Other benefits to losing weight before bariatric surgery: a shorter hospital stay by 1.8 days and a shorter surgery time by nearly two hours.
Losing Weight Before Bariatric Surgery Boosts Total Weight Loss
The patients’ goal was to follow a 1,200 calorie diet for four weeks leading up to their surgery date. Six out of 10 patients in the study were able to lose 8 percent of their excess weight.
After 18 months post-surgery, Hutcheon said, patients have to rely on diet, exercise, and lifestyle management to maintain their weight loss.
The study adds to a growing stack of research that shows it helps to lose weight before undergoing weight-loss surgery.
“One of the things we often say is bariatric surgery is a tool; it’s not the end-all-be-all for weight loss,” Hutcheon said. “So it’s really about making sure this tool is used wisely and proactively by our patients and having it work most effectively in the long run.”
People interested in learning more about bariatric surgery procedures can attend a free educational seminar at Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center.