Bariatric Surgery: Postoperative Management

  • Adherence to consistent post-operative behavioural changes (behaviour modification for nutrition plans, physical activity and vitamin intake) can optimize obesity management and health while minimizing post-operative complications.
  • Working in partnership, the bariatric surgical centre, the local bariatric medicine specialist, the primary care provider and the patient living with obesity need to establish and commit to a shared care model of chronic disease manage­ment for long-term follow-up.
  • The primary care provider should refer patients with post-bariatric surgery complications back to the bariatric surgical centre, or to a local bariatric medicine specialist.
  1. Healthcare providers can encourage people who have un­dergone bariatric surgery to participate and maximize their access to behavioural interventions and allied health services at a bariatric surgical centre (Level 2a, Grade B).
  2. We suggest that bariatric surgical centres communicate a comprehensive care plan to primary care providers on pa­tients who are discharged, including: bariatric procedure, emergency contact numbers, annual blood tests required, long-term vitamin and mineral supplements, medications, behavioural interventions and when to refer back (Level 4, Grade D, consensus).
  3. We suggest that after a patient has been discharged from the bariatric surgical centre, primary care providers should annually review: nutritional intake, activity, compliance with multivitamin and mineral supplements, and weight, as well as assess comorbidities, order laboratory tests to assess for nutritional deficiencies and investigate abnormal results and treat as required (Level 4, Grade D, consensus).
  4. We suggest that primary care providers consider referral back to the bariatric surgical centre or to a local specialist for technical or gastrointestinal symptoms, nutritional issues, pregnancy, psychological support, weight regain or other medical issues as described in this chapter related to bariatric surgery (Level 4, Grade D, consensus).
  5. We suggest that bariatric surgical centres provide follow-up and appropriate laboratory tests at regular intervals post-sur­gery with access to appropriate healthcare professionals (dietitian, nurse, social worker, surgeon, bariatric physician, psychologist/psychiatrist) until discharge is deemed appro­priate for the patient (Level 4, Grade D, consensus).
  1. If you have had bariatric surgery, it is important for you to take your nutritional supplements lifelong and to continue to follow the post-bariatric surgical nutrition plan, exercise and any other recommendations given by your original specialist team. By doing this, you will increase your chances of staying healthy and reduce complications that can arise from bariatric surgery.
  2. Attend all scheduled appointments and programming offered by your bariatric surgical site. Once you are dis­charged from the bariatric surgical site, schedule annual appointments with your primary care provider to check your blood work, reassess your medications and address any issues related to changes in your weight.
  3. After bariatric surgery, it is possible that there can be a negative impact on mood, relationships, body image, de­velopment of addictions and reduced ability to cope with stress. If you are struggling, discuss this with your original specialist team or, if you have been discharged, with your primary care provider.
  4. Remember that your lowest weight post-surgery will occur between 12 to 18 months. After this, there is a natural increase in weight that occurs. If you are gaining excessive amounts of weight, discuss this with your bariatric team or primary care provider.
  5. If you are 12 to 18 months post-bariatric surgery and are planning a pregnancy, discuss this with your bariatric team, primary care provider and obstetrician.

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