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Tips for preparing for surgery if you're overweight

Being overweight is a health issue can affect your day-to-day general health, but it's a condition that can make surgery significantly more challenging. Additionally, carrying extra pounds will also increase your chance of surgical complications, including forming dangerous blood clots and developing postoperative infections.

For an easier surgery and recovery, Logansport Memorial Hospital offers a weight-loss program—called Health Management Resources (HMR)—that can help you get prepared. 

Keep reading to learn how being overweight may cause problems during your operation and potentially slow your recovery.

Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet before surgery may help you lose weight

Risks during surgery when you're overweight

Being overweight increases your chance for experiencing side effects and complications during surgical procedures, such as:

  • Difficulties locating veins for anesthesia and medications
  • Complications determining the right dosage of medications and anesthesia to give
  • Challenges with providing the amount of oxygen and airflow during surgery, which increases the risk of breathing problems
  • Increased time to regain consciousness after surgery and  recover from surgery (as well as any complications, if they are experienced)

Orthopedic surgery risks

While it is important to be at a healthy weight prior to any surgery, it can be especially important when it comes to having orthopedic surgery. Being overweight will not only affect the surgery, but will also greatly impact the timeline for your recovery.

Whether you are having a simple orthopedic procedure or something more invasive like a total joint replacement, your ability to move and be active after surgery will impact the outcome.

Being overweight also adds extra pressure on your joints and makes it more challenging to ease back into walking after your operation. Carrying any extra pounds also adds pressure with each step that may delay your healing and increase how much pain you experience. 

If you are overweight or obese, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend postponing surgery (if it's elective or not an emergency) until you're able to lose some weight and are able to move with ease.

Pre-surgery weight-loss 

Logansport Memorial Hospital's HMR weight-loss program is a great option for losing weight before you have surgery. HMR is part of a nationally-renowned plan that has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for four consecutive years as the number one fast weight-loss program.

HMR is an intensive weight-loss and lifestyle change program designed to help participants lose weight and build a healthier routine that lasts. Everything is structured and simple. 

The program offers a wide variety of dietary options appropriate for anyone wanting to lose 10–200 or more pounds with help from our team of certified health coaches.

How the program works

When you participate in the HMR program, you can lose weight quickly by using HMR meal replacements. You don't have to worry about counting calories and measuring food. Follow the plan, and you will start to see results!

We'll teach you new skills and give you the tools to make new routines around healthier eating and strategies for incorporating physical activity into your daily life.

As you start to see progress, you can reduce your reliance on HMR meal replacement foods and transition to a sustainable, long-term healthy eating plan.

Throughout the program, you will have access to coaching and support to help hold you accountable. 

Talk to your surgeon

If being overweight is keeping you from having surgery or making you worry about your increased risk of potential complications, talk to your surgeon to see if the HMR program is right for you.

The average weight loss from those who have participated in the program is 43–61 pounds, but results may vary based on how much you need to lose. 

Your surgeon can help you determine if the HMR program is the right step in your weight loss journey to prepare for surgery. 

How to get started

  • Want to learn more? Visit our website.
  • Interested in talking to a health coach or attending an informational session? Call Workforce Health at 574.725.3599.
  • Ready to make an appointment? Schedule a time to talk with your primary care provider or surgeon.

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TOPICS: Orthopedics, General surgery, Weight loss