Post Bariatric Surgery Care
It's A Collaborative Affair!
A note to our GP colleagues ...
Post Bariatric Surgery Care
Whose responsibility is it?
We believe that we have a shared responsibility to our bariatric patients
As you would appreciate, proper and appropriate post-bariatric surgery care is critical for the long-term success of our patients. While the surgical team is primarily responsible for ensuring optimal surgical recovery and managing any complications or adverse effects that may arise from surgery in the early postoperative period, a collaborative model of care develops over time between the GP and the surgical multidisciplinary team. This partnership is essential to help patients achieve and maintain weight loss, manage medical conditions affected by weight loss, and adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors that are sustainable in the long term.
Ultimately, the primary goal of collaborative long-term follow-up care is to provide patients with the necessary resources and support to lead a healthy and fulfilling life and avoid significant weight regain over time.
What care and support does the surgical team offer patients after bariatric surgery?
At scheduled appointments with Dr Willingham and his multidisciplinary team we will:
Monitor for Complications: One of the most important postoperative care tasks for us is to monitor the patient for any potential complications, both in the short and longer term. Complications may include post-operative bleeding, infections, leaks, obstructions and malnutrition.
Assess and Monitor Nutritional Status: After bariatric surgery, patients will receive ongoing nutritional counselling with the dietician to ensure that they are getting the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients required to support their surgical recover, rapid weight loss, and overall health. This will entail, amongst other interventions, specific and progressive eating plans and the directed use of supplements.
Monitor Vitamin and Mineral Levels: After bariatric surgery, patients may be at risk of developing deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly if they have had one of the bypass procedures. Patients bloods will be checked at the 6 and 12 month marks, and then annually thereafter.
Monitor Laboratory Values: At 6 months, 12 months, and annually thereafter unless deficiencies are identified, in which case we will increase frequency.
- At 6-12 months: Full blood count, urea and electrolytes, liver function tests, uric acid, glucose, lipids, Zinc and Vit A
- Annually: 25-OH vitamin D, iPTH, calcium, albumin, phosphate, B12, folate, iron studies, Zinc and Vit A
Evaluate Weight Loss Progress: We will continually monitor the patient’s weight loss progress and provide feedback and further education to help them stay on track in the long term.
Facilitate Access to Psychological Support: Bariatric surgery can have a profound impact on a person’s life. Patients can, and some do, experience emotional and psychological changes that are difficult to manage. We have an onsite psychologist from whom patients may seek help and we can facilitate an introduction either before or after surgery if required.
Encourage Physical Activity: Prioritising regular physical activity is crucial for the long term success of bariatric surgery. We will education patients on the benefits of physical activity to their overall health, mood, and well-being, and highlight how it can aid in their recovery and and weight loss journey after surgery.
Provide GPs with Regular Appraisals: Provide regular appraisals to GPs of patients’ progress whilst under our care.
Additionally, the following support is also offered:
Dr Evan Willingham
is pleased to partner with
In Supporting Patients Towards A Healthier Future
About the FRESH START Program
The FRESH START Program provides our patients with a comprehensive two-year online support, education and coaching program that is delivered to patients before and after their surgery. With lifestyle and mindset components, it’s specifically designed to enhance patients’ surgical experience and to help them to achieve long-lasting weight and health results. Created and run by an experienced, qualified professional health coaching team, the Program is designed to guide and help motivate patients to achieve the weight, lifestyle, and health results they desire after surgery.
Over the course of two years, our patients can look forward to:
- Regular online webinars and group coaching sessions to assist patients to create momentum, overcome challenges, and stay motivated.
- Access to a private online support forum where patients can ask questions, get additional support from a team of health coaches, and personally share their experiences with fellow participants who are on the same journey as our patients.
- Access to online healthy lifestyle and mindset resources and videos to educate and inspire patients to create health-supporting habits that will assist them to reach their ideal weight and optimal health.
- Powerful mindset tools to boost motivation, clear old habits and beliefs, and empower patients to achieve lasting positive results.
- Strategies, tips and plans designed to make movement work for patients, even if it hasn’t in the past.
- Healthy food suggestions and quick, delicious recipes.
- A ‘Get Back On Track’ online program to assist patients if they are struggling.
- Email support (response from coaches guaranteed), and
- Bonus resources including inspiring interviews with patients who have achieved their weight and health goals.
Scheduled Appointments With Our Team
Dr Willingham and Practice Nurse
Patients are seen post-operatively at 4 weeks, then at 3/6/9/12 months – and annually thereafter
Patients are seen post-operatively at 2/4/6 weeks, then at 3/6/9/12 months – and at least annually thereafter
Support from the Practice Nurse
What is the role of the GP after bariatric surgery?
As an integral part of the patient’s healthcare team, the GP may enter into the continuum-of-care cycle at any point postoperatively and continue to collaboratively provide ongoing support and care to the patient. This may include monitoring for complications and referring the patient back to the surgical team if necessary; monitoring weight loss progress; monitoring adherence to bariatric strength multivitamin intake; medication reviews, laboratory assessments; and encouraging appropriate diet and physical activity.