View Full Version : Weight Loss before Surgery

02-18-2010, 09:19 PM
I was just wondering if anyone knows if it is bad to loose too much weight before surgery. I recently have lost about 30 pounds. My surgery is scheduled for June. I started loosing the weight back in August/Sept when I decided I was going to get the surgery. I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old and never really lost the baby weight since I was in too much pain from my scoliosis. I am having alot of anxiety about the surgery and to cope I've been walking on my treadmill 5 days a week, 35 minutes a day and it's amazing how much weight is coming off! I'm on a roll and want to keep going to get to my ideal weight. I'm just wondering if the weight loss could be a bad thing before surgery. I have to say, the exercising really helps with the anxiety of surgery! A bunch of people on this forum recommended getting in shape before surgery, and I'm so glad I took the advice. My body feels alot better and my back pain has even decreased.

Thanks for any input you may have,
Jen M

02-18-2010, 09:23 PM
I don't have any medical backing on this, but I would say as long as you don't go below a reasonable/normal weight for your height you are good. I recently lost about 15 pounds and I know it made my back feel much better! They do require you to walk regularly after surgery, so we can look forward to that!

02-18-2010, 09:57 PM
I agree. I think the weight loss and fitness would make you healthier and less at risk of complications. I also agree with you that fitness helps a LOT with anxiety. From my own experience, I always recommend getting fit if it's physically possible to do so. Congratulations Jen, you are doing yourself a heap of good!

02-19-2010, 04:49 AM
If losing a little weight is going to improve your fitness for surgey, then i dont see a problem, however, i am no Dr and if you are concerned at all, you should maybe check with your GP.

02-19-2010, 05:02 AM
Just remember to eat good foods whilst doing this.

I found having increasing leg and arm strength helped a lot with surgery, so try doing some weights on your arms. This really helps when you have to reposition yourself in hospital and helps you gain independence faster which I think always helps you heal faster :)

02-19-2010, 12:12 PM
havent had the surgery..yet...but 2 surgeons told me that they think it is easier to operate on "thin" people & that they heal easier...that was 2 excellent nyc surgeons...

best of luck

02-19-2010, 01:55 PM
Jen--Nothing new to add other than I agree with all of the posters. It's possible you may lose some after surgery but at least in my case it made a big comeback when my appetite returned. I think you've done your body a lot of good. Before and after I felt better when my weight was under control and I was exercising. Good for you. Janet

02-19-2010, 06:16 PM
As long as you're not anorexic, I suspect your surgeon will tell you to keep it up. I can tell you that patients who are slim seem to have the fastest recovery. That's purely anecdotal, but several surgeons have told me they noticed the same thing.

02-19-2010, 07:12 PM
ahhh...so add my anecdotal report to Linda's...

02-19-2010, 07:17 PM
ahhh...so add my anecdotal report to Linda's...

Laff ... my surgeon pretty much said the same (although I took it to mean "slenderly in shape" vs. slim ... "slim" sounds kind of frail -LOL).

02-19-2010, 07:45 PM
hmmmm...one surgeon said "thin" & the other said "on the thin side"....

i lost so much weight from pain meds... i am now too thin (contrary to the nyc expression that no one can be too thin).....& i was thin before i lost the weight...but when i dropped into the 80's, i panicked & went off the oxycontin...just taking hydrocodone now...
i see my nyc surgeon march 15th...am aftraid IF i do want to schedule surgery, he will insist i gain weight first!

hah..if i'd known about losing weight this way, i probably would have WANTED to have scoli back in the day! :rolleyes: (not really!)


02-19-2010, 10:46 PM
My surgeon recommended I lose about 10 to 15 pounds before surgery. I was not really overweight but losing the weight did help with the back pain.

02-20-2010, 09:00 AM
Finally one I actually know something about. A HEALTHY weight is preferable. My wife's dr, Dr. Nunley (director of the spine institute of la) told us that working on VERY thin people makes the closure more difficult and wound healing a bit slower. My wife is very healthy and like you was worried about a little extra weight she gained due to quitting smoking and stress eating, he stated she was absolutely fine. Remember this as well, the recovery takes quite physiological toll and the "average" patient will burn 1800 to 2000 calories a day just recovering.

Just passing on what I know, cause this specific question was asked by my wife.

Best wishes to all, her surgery is 15 days out.....


02-20-2010, 10:44 AM
Guess I'll "weigh in" on this one too. (Sick pun, totally intended...) :D I was trying to lose some weight (always the case with me) prior to my surgery. It was ok with my surgeon as long as I did so by eating a healthy diet. He said it was much more important to go into the surgery in a healthy mode rather than one where you have been depriving your body from needed nutrients. I was following the Weight Watchers program, where if you truly follow their guidelines you are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, and all the necessary nutrients. So be careful if you are dieting. The same when you are post-op. Most people lose weight from their surgery, but a few of us don't. I actually gained weight. :( After several months I felt ready to tackle the extra weight again, but was cautioned by my scoli nurse to diet wisely, with a healthy diet... your body needs those nutrients to build back up. Good luck!

Also, it's important to exercise with cardio-working exercise if you can, prior to the surgery. The heart is stressed by the surgery and if you have been working it, it's in better shape to handle the stress.

02-20-2010, 08:26 PM
Thanks everyone for all of your input! Since the weight seems to be coming off pretty easy now, think I will make it a goal to loose another 5-10 pounds by the time I have my surgery in June. If I lost another 5 pounds or so, I would then be at my healthy weight for my height. Just trying to loose the final pounds I gained when having my daughter 2 years ago before I go in for the surgery.

02-20-2010, 09:19 PM
All the advice above has been very good.

I weight approx #120 and my Doc. suggested I gain about 10 pounds. That wasn't that difficult because I was trying to quit smoking.

Always keeping in mind that we are all different!!! I went from #130 to #90 in about 3 1/2 months. My legs and arms were in pretty good, But I felt that my thighs were the most useful for me post-op.

I was not big to begin with and loosing the #40 concerned him. But between the pain and lack of appetite that sometimes comes with the meds, I had a hard time eating.

Just take it easy, and do the best you can,

02-21-2010, 06:47 AM
The weight thing (like so many other things ;-) is different for everyone.

I weighed about 100-105 when I decided to have surgery.

It was always a struggle to keep weight on, and after reading about post-op weightloss in Wolpert's book, I was seriously freaked: I embarked on a mission to gain at least 10 lbs. so I didn't become a skeleton. (that was like one of 72 "missions" I had ;-)

By the time I had surgery, I'd only gained 7 lbs. - but I was out of time, and it was the best I could do.

As it turned out, I was one of the rare people who had NO post-op appetite loss. Someone once made the joke here I was eating as soon as they sewed me up, and that's not far from the truth.

I wasn't in my room long before I shook the anesthesia ... and one of my first conscious thoughts was "I'm STARVING!". The nurses finally gave in to my incessant whining for broth (I got 3 packets from them over the next hour).

Finally, one stuck her head in and tossed me a handful of those disgusting Velveeta cheese and cracker packs (the ones with the red plastic stick spreader) and slammed the door. They didn't even come back in my room to check my vitals until after I was asleep - LOL.

You just never know ...

02-21-2010, 01:52 PM
I am one of the ones who lost alot of weight post op. I think I lost around 15 to 20 pounds and seriously was looking skeletal for awhile. The narcotic pain meds took my appetite away and my husband had to make me eat. I was not hungry. And its hard to eat when you are sleeping. So my advice is to be at a healthy weight but not underweight at the time of surgery.