What medical tests do I have before Weight Loss Surgery?

What lab tests and medical tests do I need to have before Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery is a major life time event and carries certain risks. Some are very serious and could be fatal if not properly managed OR if your ability to undergo surgery is not ideal.  To enable a safer passage through the weight loss surgery journey – and to reduce risks of added complications that could compromise your well being and safety – your Surgeon will order a variety of medical tests including blood tests, lab tests and heart tests before you have weight loss procedures such as a Gastric Sleeve or Bypass or Lap Band.

Here is a listing of a few of the lab tests and medical tests you may need to have performed before you have your Weight Loss Surgery procedure.

Why do I need to get tested BEFORE weight loss surgery/bariatric surgery such as a Lap Band or Gastric Sleeve?

You may be required to complete several preoperative tests and appointments. The purpose of preoperative screening is to make sure that you are safe in the operating room and successful long-term.

do-i-need-weight-loss-surgery-reasons-risks obesity

Each examination or medical test required before weight loss surgery:

  • will be explained in detail by your surgeon and weight loss support team
  • will guide your surgery decisions and your Surgeon’s choice of surgical methods between different types of weight loss surgery
  • will help your team know how to help you prepare and recover after weight loss surgery
  • including a bit more information on what may be involved, as shown below.

Barium Swallow test before you have Bariatric Surgery

  • This test will require you to drink a contrast which allows your doctor to visualise a rapid sequence of events that occur when your swallow.
  • This test can detect the severity of acid reflux and any abnormalities in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
  • The barium swallow test basically gives your surgeon a “road map” of your anatomy and digestive processes.
  • This greatly assists your team and Surgeon to understand what needs to be done during a procedure.

EKG before Gastric Sleeve, Lap band or other types of Weight Loss Surgery :

  • You may need to undergo an EKG test (cardiac echo and stress test) which helps to detect the electrical activity of your heart.
  • A cardiac echo is an ultrasound which evaluates the structure and function of the valves and chambers of your heart.

Exercise stress test before Bariatric Surgery

  • Involves walking on a treadmill or using an exercise bike and evaluating your cardiac function (heart functions) using an EKG and blood pressure machine.
  • If you are unable to exercise, you may have to do a pharmacologic stress test where medication is given to you to increase the blood flow to your heart and mimic the changes that occur to your heart while exercising.


  • You may have to have an ultrasound of your gallbladder if you are experiencing pain in the right upper area of your abdomen.
  • This test will be able to detect gallbladder inflammation or gallstones. If abnormalities in the gallbladder are found, your gallbladder may be removed during your bariatric surgery.
  • The test is generally a quick test to perform, and is a non-invasive medical evaluation.

LAB TESTS recommended to assess your health before you can have Weight Loss Surgery


Thyroid Test and Complete Blood Test including Haemoglobin, Iron and Vitamins

  • Labs tests include a complete blood count, thyroid function test and check the levels of haemoglobin and vitamins within your body.
  • Your weight loss support team will address any abnormalities, and treat any vitamin deficiencies accordingly.

If testing is abnormal or there’s a concern, you may need to delay your weight loss surgery.

If a test is abnormal, you may need to complete additional testing or be required to follow-up with a specialist. Your surgeon will address the results of each test to determine if the result would affect your safety in the operating room and long-term success following your surgery.

But don’t give up – your Surgeon and team may be able to guide you through behaviours and lifestyle changes or medical procedures to prepare you for your weight loss surgery procedure.


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One thought on “What medical tests do I have before Weight Loss Surgery?

  1. Thank you for mentioning how taking tests prior to your bariatric surgery can help your doctor better understand your body’s digestive process. My brother has been interested in losing weight so that he will feel more confident when he and his wife visit a local beach when they go on vacation this summer, but he is worried that the digestive complications he was born with may limit his options. Maybe he should find a medical professional that can help him determine if bariatric surgery would be safe for him.

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