Pre-operative Instructions
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Pre-operative Instructions

Your weight-loss surgery is on the horizon! After months or even years of mulling it over, you’ve decided to go ahead and create a healthier, lighter version of yourself.

Preparing for your surgery helps you feel more relaxed and in control. Starting lifestyle changes before your procedure makes you better able to continue them afterwards, helping you lose weight and keep it off.

So, here’s how to get ready for your weight loss surgery.

About 3 months before your procedure

This is the time to start getting into healthy habits that you can sustain after your operation. You don’t have to work these out alone. Your GP can refer you to our in-house dietician and exercise physiologist who will give you personalised advice on improving your diet and activity levels. 


After your operation, you’ll only be able to eat very small amounts of food. That’s why it’s so important that the food you do eat is richly nutritious and meets your body’s needs. 

So now is the time to rethink your diet and retrain your tastebuds by:

  • Eating more slowly and mindfully, savouring your food and learning to stop when you feel full
  • Eating more protein to build muscle and sustain your energy levels
  • Taking multivitamin supplements (stop krill and fish oil 2 weeks before surgery)
  • Drinking more water and far fewer sugary drinks
  • Cutting out fatty, sugary foods that provide little to no nourishment (after your surgery, this sort of food can lead to malnutrition and a condition called dumping syndrome)


  • Start doing small amounts of exercise and increase the time and intensity as you become fitter. For now, aim to move gently for 30 minutes a day.

Cigarettes and alcohol

  • If you smoke, this is the time to give up. Talk to your doctor about getting support to quit.
  • If you drink, this is the time to take a break from alcohol. Again, talk to your doctor, join an online community or download an app to help you monitor your drinking. 

Find your tribe

It’s normal to have a mixed bag of feelings as your surgery approaches. You might be excited, apprehensive, eager and nervous all at the same time. 

Consider joining a support group where you can create connections with other people travelling the same oath. This peer support can be really helpful before and after surgery. 

A fortnight before your procedure

Very low-calorie diet

What can you eat before surgery?  Patients are asked to go on a very low calorie diet (VLCD) at this point using meal replacement shakes that provide only about 800 kCal per day. Your dietitian will have explained this to you already but please talk to us if you have queries or if you experience side effects such as dizziness, tiredness or irritability. 

The aim is to make your liver significantly smaller to help your surgery go smoothly. Many people with obesity have enlarged, fatty livers that are much heavier than normal. During most types of bariatric surgery, your surgeon has to lift your liver away from your stomach while performing the surgery. Getting your liver closer to a normal size and weight helps to reduce the risks of surgery.


As the date approaches, your calendar will fill up a bit. There’ll be pre-surgery tests and final consultations with your surgeon. This gives you a chance to ask any final questions and go through the consent forms. You should leave this appointment with absolute clarity about your admission time and pre-op instructions. If you’re unsure about anything, please ask.

Arranging support

You also need to arrange for a friend or relative to:

  • Take you to the hospital and drive you home after discharge (part of our duty of care is to ensure you have plans in place to get home safely rather than travel alone or drive)
  • Stay with you for a few days after you return home.

The day before

Your surgeon may have prescribed medication(s)/supplementation to be taken before your surgery. If so, then follow the instructions you’ve been given. 

Continue taking any regular medications unless you’ve been told otherwise by your surgeon or anaesthetist. 

On the day of your procedure


You must fast for at least 6 hours before your admission. That means no solid food. You can still have clear fluids such as water.


Follow the advice your surgeon has given about which medications to take or not take on the day of your procedure.

What to bring with you

We recommend a small bag of comfortable clothes, PJs, toiletries, medications, a phone charger, books or other things to pass the time.

Where to go

Go to the admissions desk when you arrive at hospital and follow their instructions. Remember to bring your signed consent form.

Pre-op and post-op

A nurse will meet you and take you through to the pre-op area where you’ll be asked to change into a theatre gown. Your surgeon and anaesthetist will meet you in the anaesthetic bay where your IV is inserted and have a quick chat before you go into surgery to put you at ease. Once you’ve been wheeled into theatre, your anaesthetist will give you the medication that puts you to sleep. Then we get to work!

You’ll wake up in post-op, where a nurse will monitor you until you’re well enough to be moved onto the ward where your friends and family can visit (subject to COVID restrictions at the time).

After your procedure

Going home

We prefer to keep you in hospital for two nights to monitor your progress and give you time to recover. Your surgeon will visit you every day in hospital to check on how you are doing and to ensure that you understand the dietary protocols and run through your medications before discharge.


You’ll be on clear fluids only to begin with, gradually progressing to thicker fluids, soft foods and eventually normal (small and healthy!) meals. You’ll be given detailed advice before you go home.

Going back to work

The right time to return to work varies depending on the nature of your job, your type of surgery and your overall health and wellbeing.

We usually recommend you take at least two weeks off. You’ve just had a significant operation and your body (and mind) need time to adjust. During this time should you have any questions or suffer difficulties you are to contact the helpful staff at Life Weight Loss Centre, or the hospital at which you were operated.


You’ll have a schedule of appointments over the coming weeks including:

  • A follow-up with your surgeon
  • Your dietitian
  • Your exercise physiologist.

These appointments enable us to monitor you for any complications and support you as you make lasting lifestyle changes and lose weight.

Hopefully, you’re now all set for your weight loss surgery and the fresh phase of life beyond it. However, if you have any questions, please do call us on 1300 669 259.


All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. 

Want to know more?

Request a callback from one of our friendly Practice Managers


Want to know more? Request a callback

Want to know more?

Request a callback from one of our friendly Practice Managers