Do all of us have to go on a two week, pre op liquid diet? 

I have friends who didn’t! Why am I being punished? Why do I have to lose 20 LBS before surgery? My surgeon told me I have to go on a liquid diet using the awful drinks I have to buy from his office. If I could lose weight on my own, I wouldn’t need surgery! Is this part of my insurance making me jump through hoops?

Pre op Liquid Diet


Hold on hold on… calm down. It is a good thing!

I remember several years ago at a bariatric surgeons conference watching a debate between two very prominent bariatric surgeons about Pre Op Diets. One doc argued that it was cruel to make a morbidly obese person do something they found almost impossible before granting them surgery. The other surgeon argued that dieting immediately before surgery shrunk the size of the liver reducing risk of complications, PLUS it gave the team a clue as to how compliant we would be after surgery.

Both are correct. However given the opportunity, I personally wanted to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING in my power to make this drastic quasi organ removal or rearrangment as safe as it could be! Bring on the liquid diet, bring on the Atkins plan, bring on South Beach! DITCH the bread and macaroni and chips. I want to live!

YES… pre op ‘diets’ are hard. If they were easy, we would NOT be having bariatric surgery, we would just roll with the diet, right? PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE NOT STARVING TO DEATH ON DAY 4. You have enough stored fuel in the form of body fat that it would take a very looooong time to waste away. You want to *starve a little* to force your body to drop some fast weight before surgery and this type of rapid weight loss shrinks your liver.

Go super low carb, go Spartan, drink lots of water, Diet Snapple, plain iced tea, flavored water, eat DIET ice pops and jello, knowing you are making your surgery safer. Follow your surgeons instructions to the ‘T’.

Why is this important, as in life or death important? Look at this drawing. The liver is huge and it is right on top of the place your surgeon needs to SEE in order to safely remove 85% of your stomach. IF you are morbidly obese your liver can be twice as lareg as that of the slim guy in this illustration… picture THAT! In order to get to your stomach, your liver needs to be LIFTED UP and if yours is huge bloated and fatty this is not simple and it can even crack or be damaged.

The anatomy of the abdomen

So we know its tough and you may have a headache but keep drinking water and stick to plan so you increase your own odds of a complication free surgery. You can do it. Really you can! 


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