Follow Up After Weight Loss Surgery
Follow up appointments after surgery are important for numerous reasons. Generally, there is a correlation between compliance with follow up appointments and weight loss. Appointments give patients accountability with their food choices and exercise programs. Follow up appointments are critical to your health after surgery. Not only do they give you an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have, but they allow your provider to monitor your lab values and assess for any vitamin deficiencies or possible complications. Our patients follow up with our office:
• 2 weeks post-op: you will visit with the nurse and she will assess your incisions, discuss diet and activity and address any problems you may be experiencing.
• 1 month post-op: you will meet with the dietitian and the nurse. The dietitian will assess your nutrient intake, vitamin intake, address pre-op vitamin deficiencies and address any dietary concerns you may have. The nurse will inspect your incisions and discuss any medical concerns. She will also discuss activity and lifting restrictions.
• 3 months post-op: generally patients are cleared from a medical standpoint around 1 month post-op. From this point forward, they meet with the dietitian and exercise physiologist at each visit. Both professionals discuss appropriate information. If you had vitamin deficiencies prior to surgery, the physician may order for these values to be rechecked and the dietitian will provide a lab order.
• 6 months and 1 year post-op: you will meet with the dietitian and exercise physiologist and they will address your diet and exercise goals. You will have a complete panel of labs drawn. It is best that you have these labs drawn about 1 week prior to your appointment so the results will be available for the dietitian to review with you at the appointment.
• Annually: we recommend that you follow up with our office each year near your anniversary date. You will meet with the dietitian and exercise physiologist, who will address your weight and any concerns you may have. It is highly recommended you have your vitamin levels drawn each year. We realize that some patients prefer to follow up with your primary care physician for long-term bariatric care. After 1 year, this is okay; however please ensure that they monitor your vitamin levels frequently. The further you get out from surgery, the higher the risk of vitamin deficiencies.
We love celebrating your victories and continued maintenance of your new “tool” after surgery. If at anytime, you experience a slowdown, we are here for that too! Sometimes patients will say, “I haven’t been back for a while because I have gotten off track and am ashamed because I’ve gained weight.” That’s when I like to remind patients that our entire purpose is to help patients be successful at any stage in the game. If that’s a few steps behind where you were last time, we’ll give you suggestions to make your goals.
Krystal Cameron, RD, LDN