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I Lost Weight Before Weight-Loss Surgery: Should I Still Have the Surgery?

man celebrating on scale

Most insurance companies require weight-loss surgery patients to lose weight before their weight loss surgery.

It seems odd.… You’re having weight-loss surgery to lose weight, but you need to lose weight before you have surgery. So, why is it so important?

A higher success rate

Adopting the weight-loss habits and healthy eating guidelines before surgery will make you more successful after surgery.

“We really want our patients to start adhering to the diet and lifestyle guidelines that are going to make them successful after surgery,” says Clinical Dietitian Emily Newell, RD, LDN. “Studies do show that those who are more successful preoperatively with their weight loss are going to be more successful post-operatively."

Also, weight-loss before surgery is important for your safety during surgery.

“Some initial weight loss will reduce your liver size,” says Newell. “That is why we put our patients on a two week pre operative low calorie diet that consists of 1,000 calories.”

What to do after losing weight

So, you’re scheduled for surgery but have already lost 25 pounds without stepping into the operating room. Should you just keep going with the diet and skip your surgical date?

“That's my wish,” says Alan Schuricht, MD, bariatrics surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital. “But statistically speaking, only three percent of those who lose weight are going to be able to lose it and keep it off. However, the odds are they're probably going to be back later on.”

Dr. Schuricht adds, “It’s not just the weight it’s also other health markers. So we know that through having the surgery not only are they going to be continuing to lose weight and get closer down to their ideal body weight but they’re also going to significantly improve other health markers.”

Remember, even with surgery, you still need to work. Sure, but if you get it right most of the time, exercise most of time, and stay in touch with your team here at Penn, you will be successful.

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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