The Patient Journey
If you feel weightloss surgery may be right for you, the whole process begins with an initial consultation with one of our doctors. You will need a referral from your GP. If you’re still not sure if you’re ready that’s perfectly OK. Your consultation is completely obligation free- its an excellent way to find out more about the Gastric Banding, Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass procedures and answer all of your questions, with no pressure at all to proceed further.
Initial stages- Work up for Surgery
Following your initial appointment, a date for your surgery can be scheduled in as little as two to four weeks. During this preparation phase, you will be asked to:
- Undertake 2 week dietary phase of Optifast and vegetables/ salads so as to reduce your liver size so that your stomach organ can be safely accessed by keyhole surgery.
- Meet with a team dietitian to guide you through this phase and explain which foods you are also allowed to have- you will also be given our clear and easy to follow dietary booklet at this initial meeting.
- Meet with one of our lovely Psychologists. The purpose of this meeting is to help you better identify the changes you may need to make in your life, and equip you with techniques to help make these changes so that you can lose as much weight as possible
- Meet with our Bariatric Physician who will check your blood results, measure your blood pressure, and check your overall health to ensure you are as fit as possible for your surgery
- Undergo routine blood tests.
All these consultations are covered under your once off program fee, and we can usually arrange for all the consultations to take place during a single afternoon to make your time more efficient.
After surgery, we need to allow the stomach area to settle and the swelling to subside. This is achieved by having a gradual return to normal solid food:
- In the first two weeks you will just be having high protein fluids and other beverages, but you will not usually be very hungry so this is quite easy to stick to. You can have literally anything you desire provided it is in liquid form so that is passes through the swollen stomach without causing pressure.
- In the third and fourth weeks you will be able to include mushy foods and purees as well as the swelling settles down further.
- After this it is back to your everyday range of real foods, just in smaller amounts!
- At the two week mark, you will be meeting again with one of our dieticians, our Bariatric physician, and with your surgeon (Dr Craig Taylor or Dr Phil Le Page) to check on how you are recovering and answer any questions you may have. We will explain the recovery diet phase in more detail and double check that your incisions are healing nicely and that everything is as expected.
Weight loss phase
If you have had the Gastric Band, we like to see you quite frequently, ideally every month for the first year or so, so that we can perform saline adjustments, have a chat about your progress, and check that everything is working well with your band. We are happy to keep seeing you every month until you reach your goal weight, as long as it takes- this is usually around 12-18 months, although some patients reach their goal weight much sooner, whilst others may take 24 months. Getting there is more important than how fast it takes.
We like to see you losing between 0.5kg-1kg per week. There is no expiry on the number of monthly visits you can have under our program- we will continue to support you every month for as long as it takes for you reach your goal weight. This is the phase when most of your Gastric Band adjustments will be performed, and when our guidance, advice and support is most needed.
The people you will mostly see during these visits are our Bariatric physicians (Dr Anthony and Dr Angela) and our dieticians (Caroline and Andrea). You will also catch up again with one of our psychologists at around the 6 month mark to see how you are going. Our psychologists also run monthly support groups, at 6pm on Tuesday nights, which are really useful and you are encouraged to come along. As usual, all of this support is covered by your once-off program fee.
Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass
If you opted for the Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass, we only need to see you once every 3 months until your goal weight is reached, as no saline adjustments are needed. We also combine these 3-monthly clinic visits with a dietitian consultation, and, as with the Gastric Band above, another check up with our psychologist at the 6 month mark, and unlimited access to our support groups.
Of course, with any of our procedures, if any issues or concerns pop up between scheduled visits you can have additional consultations at any time free of charge. Our team is on site from 9am to 6pm monday to thursday and we will always do our best to fit you in at short notice.
All our procedures include two visits with one of our resident psychologists, Dr Tony and Dr Sonia. The first visit usually takes place before surgery, and the second at around 6 months after your surgery when it’s a good time to check whether any bad habits are starting to creep back in, such as comfort eating, and if so help you with this.
In addition to these formal psychology consultations, we also offer regular support groups, run by Dr Sonia. These are held every month in the evening, and are a great way to get the latest information on breaking habits, de-ranking food, preparing for the festive season, coming to terms with body change, etc. The topics change every night, and everyone in our program is welcome to attend as many or as few as you desire. Research shows patients who attend support groups acheive greater weightloss.
Whilst reaching your goal weight is a fantastic turning point in your life, our care for you doesn’t end there- We still like to keep in touch, and would like to keep seeing you at least once a year for a check-up. You are also welcome to come in at any time for extra consultations if you have any concerns. Ongoing care is part of our program philosophy- you’ll never be charged additional fees to see us. Thats the OClinic difference!