Ask the Navigator: Why do I need follow-up appointments after surgery?

Rachel Newmyer, RN

Dear Navigator,

Why is it important to keep your follow up appointments after bariatric surgery? I can see the importance of coming back for the first couple appointments post-surgery to check up on my wound sites and such, but other than weighing me, which I will be doing at home, why do I need to be seen? -Theresa

Thanks for your question. Follow up appointments are very important to your weight loss success, but not in the way you might think. Though there is a lot of proof that patients are far more successful with accountability this is not the only reason why we recommend frequent follow ups. The short term effects of weight loss surgery are well understood, but the longer term effects on nutrition and body systems are still being studied. We know that after weight loss surgery there is malabsorption of vitamins and minerals which requires daily supplementation and periodic monitoring. Nutritional deficiencies can occur over years and therefore need evaluation on a yearly basis. It is important that we catch nutritional deficits before long term complication occur. Lab work is completed every six months for the first three years and then yearly thereafter. The follow up lab work can be completed by your family physician but it is important that they are aware of the specific bariatric labs that need monitoring; they include labs outside of your typical blood panel.

We look forward to seeing you at your follow up soon.

Rachel Newmyer RN
Bariatric Patient Navigator

If you have any questions for Rachel, email them to