Clearance for Surgery:  Why do I need to lose weight first?

Weight loss at any time in life can be challenging, but especially as a directive before clearance for surgery. Understanding why weight loss is necessary can help motivate you to follow-through.

Life-threatening complications can arise during surgery as a result of obesity. Here are 3 of the most common complications that can occur with high-risk patients.

  1. Anesthesia Complications. Determining the correct dose of anesthesia and finding veins for administering anesthesia is complicated when a patient has extra fatty tissue. These complications can result in a patient receiving the improper dosage, experiencing pain, or requiring emergency procedures.
  2. Cardiovascular Problems. During surgery, the use of anesthesia results in a higher risk of heart attack, check pain, stroke, and high blood pressure. If the patient is also obese, the heart is already working harder to provide the body with blood and oxygen. The added stress of anesthesia can result in a higher risk of cardiovascular problems during and after surgery.
  3. Slow Wound Healing. After surgery, wounds require a healthy sustained supply of blood and oxygen to heal. Excess fatty tissue can delay the time it takes to heal as well as lengthen the surgery duration, which can increase chances for infection, a longer recovery time, or additional procedures.

Your doctor’s goal is to improve your chances of having a successful procedure. If your doctor or surgeon has concern that you may be at risk for any of the above complications, they will have your overall health be assessed via an exam, resulting in a plan to get you in the best shape possible for your surgery.