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Stace Anaesthetists

Anaesthesia for Bariatric Surgery

The information regarding anaesthesia for weight loss surgery is general in nature.

Patients presenting for Bariatric Surgery often suffer from other conditions associated with being overweight (eg. Diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea) which increase the complexity of your anaesthetic and need to be managed carefully.  

Your anaesthetist also needs to know about the presence of a gastric band so that they can provide the safest possible anaesthetic for you, regardless of the complexity of your surgery.

It is important that you have a discussion with your anaesthetist before the day of your surgery, so an anaesthetic plan can be tailored to your requirements based on these factors.

On the day of your operation

Please take all your medication as directed by your anaesthetist.  It is especially important that blood pressure tablets, anti reflux tablets and puffers for asthma are continued on the day of your surgery.  By now, you should already have had a discussion with your anaesthetist regarding your diabetic medication and blood thinners (including aspirin).

Fasting before your operation

All food should be stopped 6 hours prior to anaesthesia (including sweets, lollies and chewing gum).  Water totalling not more than 200mls per hour can be taken up to 2 hours prior to anaesthesia.

If you are taking Optifast, please discuss with your anaesthetist what you should do.

Premedication

It is uncommon to receive a sedative premed before these operations.  However, you may receive a further tablet or small drink to further reduce the acid in your stomach just before you come to theatre.  In addition, it is likely you will be given an injection and some stockings to wear to reduce the chances of a blood clot occurring in the legs (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT for short).  Keep these stockings afterwards and use them for any long journeys!

During the operation

Your anaesthetist will give you an anaesthetic designed to minimise the risk of post-operative nausea and vomiting by using specific drugs.  You will receive painkilling medication to reduce postoperative pain and antibiotics to prevent post-operative wound infections.

Most of these operations can be successfully completed laparoscopically (using telescopes).  In uncommon circumstances and for your safety, it may be necessary to perform a more conventional “open” operation.  Although this will not affect the anaesthetic, it will alter your post-operative pain management.

If you have a gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy, blue dye is often used to make sure the internal stitching is watertight.  This blue dye comes up the gullet causing the mouth to be blue stained.  This only lasts for a day or so.  Do not be alarmed!