Marc M. Zaré MD: 408-358-1855Marc M. Zaré, MD, FACS - Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery

Weight Loss Before Digestive Surgery

Excess weight may be a risk factor for development of complications after surgery. It may also make laparoscopic surgery difficult to perform, thereby increasing the possibility of open surgery. Sometimes if a patient has excess weight, in order to increase the safety of surgery and maximize success with laparoscopic approach, we may advise the patient to reduce some weight before surgery.

How to lose weight

Depending on the amount of excess weight, a simple diet or a more structured regimen of weight loss may be advised. We routinely assist individuals with their weight loss efforts and provide counseling during the initial surgical visit. Patients also enjoy easy access to our experienced in-house registered dietitian. With this approach, it is hoped that any weight loss that is achieved before surgery will be maintain afterwards.

If more than a few pounds of weight loss is desired, a meal replacement program offered can be attempted. Using products that have been developed under the most stringent quality management criteria, patients receive high quality protein formulae that contain 100% of the recommended daily intake (RDA) for vitamins and minerals in five servings per day. The products comes in a variety of forms including powder, ready-to-drink liquid, bar, and soup powder. Patients generally describe the products as very desirable in taste. These products are to be used as meal replacements (not meal supplements).

On the first day of use start by replacing breakfast with one serving. On the second day, in addition to breakfast replace lunch with two servings (total of 3 servings). On the third day in addition to breakfast and lunch, replace dinner with two more servings (total of 5 servings). This will provide high quality proteins with 100% of the RDA for essential vitamins and minerals. Drink plenty of water in between the servings. You will not require additional food while on this formula.

Please remember that these products need to be used under the guidance of your MD and are not commercially available in stores. The commercially available "protein shakes" do not contain the right proportion of essential nutrients and are not recommended for use before surgery. Those products are generally designed as protein supplements (instead of full meal replacements) and therefore lack important nutrients and minerals.

Marc M. Zaré, MD, FACS
Marc M. Zaré, MD, FACS
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Georgetown University Hospital University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Diplomate American Board of Surgery Fellow American College of Surgeons Member Society of American Gastrointestinal & Endoscopic Surgeons Member American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery
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