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Preparing for Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery

Preoperative Timeline

Your surgeon will provide you with instructions for preparing for surgery that are specific to your needs. This information provides general guidelines for potential bariatric surgery patients.


4-6 Months Before Surgery Attend Holy Cross Hospital's Surgical Weight-Loss Informational Meetings to receive preoperative education and get as much information as possible to help you decide if the surgery is right for you.


3 Months Before Surgery Start exercising 20 to 30 minutes, three to five times per week, getting your heart rate up to 60 to 80 percent of your predicted maximal heart rate. To calculate your rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are 40 years old, 220-40=180. Next, take 60 to 80 percent of the result to determine your predicted maximal heart rate, which in this example would range from 108 to 144.

Holy Cross Hospital offers a self-paced "Movement, Stretch and Strength" class to pre- and post-bariatric surgery patients. The class helps to increase lung capacity, flexibility and strength. It helps patients get in shape for surgery and successfully move beyond surgery. Your physician must provide permission for you to participate in this class. For upcoming dates and to register, visit our classes and events section or call 301-754-8800.

  1. Schedule a sleep study (polysomnogram), coordinated at the support group session. Learn more about the Holy Cross Hospital Sleep Center.
  2. Continue to attend the Holy Cross Hospital support group meetings, held every second and fourth Wednesday at Holy Cross Hospital. For more information, read about our support groups.
  3. Meet with a nutritionist/dietician and get started on prescribed vitamins.
  4. Meet with a mental health provider.
  5. If you are diabetic, stick to your diet and check your blood sugars as directed by your primary care physician.
  6. Have all of your medical issues addressed and take all prescribed medication.
  7. Make arrangements with your employer to take time off, secure help at home from family members, etc.
  8. If you are a patient of Dr. Gary Harrington, please fill out a history and physical form and bring it with you to consultation with Dr. Harrington.
2 Months Before Surgery
  1. Complete all of the above.
  2. If initial sleep study diagnosis is obstructive sleep apnea, get the second (titration) sleep study done and start using your nasal CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask right away.
  3. Make sure that you have all appointments with the necessary specialists scheduled to obtain medical clearance.
1 Month Before Surgery
  1. Stay on course.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Take your vitamins, nasal CPAP and medications as prescribed.

2 Weeks Before Surgery

  1. Contact the Holy Cross Hospital Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) at 301-754-7290 to schedule an appointment. The appointment should take place one week prior to your surgery.
  2. During your visit to ACC, you will be interviewed by a nurse and seen by an anesthesiologist who will assess any special anesthesia needs.
  3. In order to do a complete review of your medical history, all preoperative testing should be completed prior to your ACC visit.
  4. Ensure your primary care physician faxes your H&P (history and physical) and current laboratory work, EKG and chest X-ray results.
  5. A hospital registration clerk will contact you before the day of surgery to gather pertinent information including hospitalization/insurance coverage.
  6. You will also be informed of any financial obligations.
  7. The fax number for the ACC is 301-754-7286.
1 Week Before Surgery
  1. Do not take aspirin, aspirin products or any type of blood thinner, for seven days before your day of surgery. Examples include, but are not limited to, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Alka Seltzer) and other cold medicines.
  2. If you take any medicines (prescription or "over-the-counter"), please check with your physician and/or anesthesiologist regarding whether you should take them on the day of your surgery.
24 Hours Before Surgery  DO NOT take Glucophage 24 hours before surgery.
Day Before Surgery
  1. Limit your diet to liquids only. This includes water, coffee or tea without milk or cream, clear broth, Jell-O and clear juice without pulp (apple juice is OK, orange juice is not).
  2. Do not drink carbonated beverages on the day before your surgery.
  3. As an infection control measure, wash your body from your nipple line to your thighs with an antimicrobial solution called Hibiclens (rinse thoroughly). You will repeat this cleansing procedure the morning of surgery.
Night Before Surgery  Have nothing to eat or drink after midnight on the day of your surgery, except a sip of water to take any medications you were instructed by the Anesthesia Department to take on the day of surgery.
Surgery Day
  1. As an infection control measure, wash your body from your nipple line to your thighs with an antimicrobial solution called Hibiclens (rinse thoroughly).
  2. Bring with you to the hospital any medications that you take and your CPAP machine. (Your family or loved ones should keep the CPAP machine in their car until after the surgery.)
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