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Department of Surgery Referrals Patient Clinician Researcher

Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery
Patient Experience  Surgery Preparation

Before Surgery

All patients considering surgical treatment of clinically severe obesity will be evaluated by the surgical team, clinical dietitian and a psychologist, each of whom must individually agree that the patient is a good candidate for surgery. A series of preoperative blood tests and x-rays are performed following the initial evaluations usually one week before surgery.

No Smoking!

If you are a smoker, you MUST quit smoking at least one month and preferably two months before your surgery. This is important because smoking greatly increases you risk of pneumonia and other lung problems after surgery. Call your primary care physician if you need medicated patches or gum to help you quit. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the US.

Expected Hospital Course

If you have heart problems or if the surgeon wants special monitoring, you may be admitted one day before your Gastric Bypass. However, this is extremely rare. A nurse will get you ready to go to the operating room when you arrive. You will wait on a stretcher or chair in the "pre-operative area". Nurses, physicians, and anesthesiologists will ask you questions and will tell you what to expect in the operating room. An IV will be started. An epidural catheter may be placed for pain management, depending on you and your surgeon's preference.

Surgery lasts less than 3 hours; however, it may be 4 or 5 hours before your family and friends see the surgeon. The surgeon will come talk to them after the surgery is completed.

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Columbia University Medical Center NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital