Blog - Surgical Associates of Grinnell


The Importance of Following a Meal Plan Post-Surgery

Posted on 08/22/2018 at 10:30 AM

Post-Bariatric Meal Plan Importance

To ensure that you get the most out of your bariatric procedure, it is imperative that you follow the post-surgery meal plan to a “t”. We encourage you to contact us should you have any questions as to whether or not you should eat a specific food item at any point during your healing process. We want you to feel comfortable making the right decisions about your food consumption and this article will briefly explain why.

To Heal

The meal plans provided to you by you doctors have been specifically planned for you to secure your healthy recovery. If you choose to eat an unapproved food item, you risk your health. This may sound a tad dramatic, but it is one hundred percent true. Your stomach has gone through some serious trauma and needs to encounter food of the appropriate amounts, textures, and compositions.

To Get Your Nutrients

This goes hand-in-hand with healing. Now more than ever, you must be sure to get your nutrients. Your body is doing its best to heal itself and you should do all you can to assist it in doing so. Keep in mind, the meal plan is specifically meant to get your body what it needs, in the forms that are currently needed. Over time, you will be able to get the same nutrients in a variety of ways, but for now, you should stick to the methods and supplements suggested to you by your doctor.

To Avoid Discomfort

If you eat something outside of your meal plan, especially in the time period immediately after surgery, you will more than likely experience some form of discomfort and/or sickness. This is due to the fact that your stomach is no longer the same, and therefore the food you consume must change as well. We do not want you to feel nauseous because 1.) feeling queasy is never fun and 2.) vomiting could put your body under unnecessary stress, further slowing your healing process.

To Promote Weight Loss

This point goes back to the very beginning and the reason you pursued bariatric surgery in the first place. If you’ve made it this far (through a procedure), we’re sure you’ve heard that this surgery is not a quick fix for permanent weight loss. You can gain the weight back. Especially if you do not follow the post-procedure meal plan.

We want this procedure to be just as successful as you do. If you remember why you are doing this, and keep the above motivators front-of-mind as you heal, you will be well on your way not only to a speedy post-surgery recovery, but to a healthy, more enjoyable life.

Depression & Anxiety Post-Bariatric Surgery

Posted on 07/25/2018 at 10:30 AM

If you begin to type “depression after...” in the Google search bar, you may notice that one of the most searched phrases attached to that query is “depression after surgery”. There are many factors that lead to a post-surgery mood alteration, especially in a routine-altering case such as a bariatrically-based procedure. 

If you notice that you are experiencing a shift in your overall frame of mind, you are not alone. What may be alarming to you is that the shift may not be a positive one, necessarily. There may be heightened anxiety and, as mentioned before, depressive episodes. We repeat, you are not alone, and we have reason to believe you are not in the wrong to feel these things. If you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others, we implore you to either call or start an online chat with the national suicide prevention lifeline:

National Suicide Prevention:

phone number: 1.800.273.8255
direct chat link:

You have, or will have had, gone through a drastic lifestyle change in an appreciably short span of time. Not to mention, there may be other stressful factors added to the mix. You may be worried about medical bills, recovery, and even feel anxiety about how it is you are feeling!

Be Patient

If you feel a bit overwhelmed at any given point during your recovery process, there are ways you can cope. Studies have shown that people typically lose touch with their bodies after gaining a certain amount of weight, so losing significant mass so quickly may elicit a reaction similar to shock. With that shock may come those feelings of being overwhelmed.

Seek Help

Not only do your doctors want you to succeed physically post-surgery, they want you to be mentally healthy as well. If you are feeling particularly anxious or low, reach out. Whether you are in contact with your doctor, a counselor, or your loved ones, it is important not to isolate yourself during this period of transition. Overthinking can be just as detrimental to your progress as, let’s say, not following a meal plan or watching what you eat.
This is something you can overcome. It may not be easy, and it will inevitably take some work, but it is possible. You won’t have to feel this way forever. Much like the any other side effect associated with a procedure, there is also a chance you won’t experience a mood shift.

We encourage you to not let this deter you from bariatric surgery as it may be necessary for your overall health and well-being. If you would like to learn more about our processes and procedures, contact us here!
To make an appointment with our bariatric therapist, Bridget Baechtel, LISW, who specializes in treating pre- and post-bariatric clients for issues related to coping, mental health, stress, etc. Please feel free to contact her toll free at 866-613-4323 if you have questions or concerns.

Navigating BBQ Season After Bariatric Surgery

Posted on 06/25/2018 at 10:30 AM

With the summer season comes BBQ’s and gatherings full of tasty, but not always healthy, foods. If you’ve recently undergone bariatric surgery, you know you’ve got to be aware of the food choices you make, but it can feel alienating to attend parties and grill outs when you have to avoid certain foods and beverages. You don’t have to suffer though! Here are some tips to help you stay the path so you don’t cause delays to your recovery progress.

Tip: Choose Skewers over Burgers

While it may be tempting to build your own burger, bread is one of the main foods you should avoid post-bariatric surgery. But have no fear! There are other protein-based alternatives to this BBQ classic. Instead, get creative and experiment with a variety of grilled meat and/or veggie skewers! 

Depending on your recovery timeline, you may want to stick to a meatless variety with a vegetable medley. If you are far enough along in your process, you may be able to try adding lean meats such as chicken, beef cuts, or even lamb!

Tip: Have a Healthy Snack Before You Go

This one is like the “don’t go to the grocery store hungry” rule. If you go hungry, you’re more likely to overeat and/or choose foods that could compromise your progress. Additional tip: survey the foods on the menu before you start filling up your plate, create a game plan, and stick to it! This will be much easier to focus on if you don’t have that little hangry growl disturbing your stomach.

Tip: Avoid Alcohol Completely

At any point in the recovery process your body is not prepared to handle the carbohydrates and/or sugars in most alcoholic beverages…especially beer. The alcohol will pass directly into your intestines due to your body’s inability to metabolize it. Because of this, you will feel the influence of the alcohol much sooner than you would have prior to your surgery. We recommend that you use extreme caution if you do decide to consume alcohol. Under no circumstance should you drink and drive, during your recovery, you are subject to DUI-level intoxication after just one drink.

Tip: Have Fun and Do What Is Best for You

If you don’t think the menu at the barbecue is going to fit into your weight loss goals or health and dietary restrictions, simply plan to eat around the BBQ. That way, you won’t be miserably hungry and envious of all the other BBQ-goers, and you can focus on having a lovely time with your friends and family! Your discomfort and progress is not worth the risk of a plate of food at a social event. 

Tip: You Can Still Have Dessert…

…you just must be selective as to what you decide to treat yourself with! Going back to the food-on-a-stick route, fruit kebabs are a great option. We can even suggest a yogurt-based fruit dip for an added sweetness! Click here for a recipe that will fit right in to your diet.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to enjoy BBQ season without too much stress or worry. We want you to stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy yourself! 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Posted on 05/30/2018 at 9:46 AM

When dealing with serious mental health conditions, considering all options is necessary. From psychotherapy to increasing exercise, any method that has been shown to alleviate symptoms should offer hope to any that suffer with mental disorders as there are many techniques to try. One such technique is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR for short. EDMR is a fairly new technique and many are wondering what it is and if it could help them.

What is EMDR?

EDMR is a psychotherapy that was developed to treat those affected by traumatic memories and negative thoughts. The technique was developed in 1989 by psychologist Francine Shapiro. She discovered the method by happenstance one day while walking through a park. She noticed that her own negative thoughts and emotions were reduced as she rhythmically moved her eyes side-to-side. 
Shapiro went on to conduct studies to assess whether her experience was a commonality among others with traumatic memories. Her results reflected positively on her hypothesis; that being that brief sequential reflection on traumatic memories while focusing on as external stimuli (i.e. a light moving side-to-side, hand clapping, etc.) will desensitize the reflector to that memory and offer them a chance to reprocess its effect on their life.
Word of the effectiveness of the treatment was pervasive and since Shapiro’s discovery and study of EDMR, many larger studies have been conducted with similar findings. As the technique spread, Shapiro founded the EMDR Institute to continue to assess the treatments efficacy.

Is it effective?

EMDR has not been without controversy. Critics often note the small size of the studies and some of Shapiro’s initial methods of spreading the technique. However, the EMDR Institutes sites that over 24 randomized studies empirically validate its effectiveness.
Scientific American took a look at EMDR and compared it to standard behavior and cognitive-behavior therapies as well as just talking to a supportive listener. They found that while EMDR is most likely more effective than supportive listening, behavior therapy is still the most. So, what does this mean for EMDR? It really is just another tool in the tool bag for therapists. While behavior therapy is shown to be the most effective for most people, EMDR offers hope for those that have not responded to behavior therapy. Psychotherapists can utilize EMDR to help those struggling to find a treatment.
Seeking therapy for mental health can seem like a hopeless endeavor, especially if treatments have not helped in the past. Our mental health team at Surgical Associates of Grinnell is here to help. We want you to feel like the best you and offer many methods to help those suffering. Read more about our mental health program or contact us today to see how we can help.

HPV Vaccine: Who Should Get it and When?

Posted on 04/03/2018 at 10:00 AM

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are still generally perceived as a taboo topic by much of society. In order to spread awareness and hopefully also lift the stigma associated with STI’s, today we are covering the human papillomavirus, otherwise known as HPV—the most common STI in the United States.

What is HPV?

The human papillomaviruses are a group of over 100 different virus types and strains that infect human skin and mucus membranes. HPV is the most common STI in the U.S. with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stating that around “14 million people become newly infected each year,” and that nearly all sexually active people will get the virus at some point in their lives. The virus and its many strains can have many effects on the body including warts and even numerous cancers.

Often HPV is considered a women’s only issue, but that is not at all the case. The CDC reports that men are generally more at risk for HPV and are significantly more at risk for oral HPV: 11.5% of men age 18 to 69 compared to 3.3% of women.

In discussing HPV-associated cancers, the CDC states that cervical cancer is the most common for women, while oropharyngeal (throat) cancers are most common in men. Overall, the CDC sites that “more than 90% of anal and cervical cancers, about 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, and more than 60% of penile cancers,” are thought to be the result of HPV.

How effective is the vaccine?

Three approved vaccines prevent varying types of the virus. The most well know is Gardasil, which prevents types 6, 11, 16, and 18. There is also Cervarix, which just prevents types 16 and 18, and Gardasil 9, which prevents 6, 11, 16, and 18 as well as 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

As far as effectiveness goes, trials leading up to the approval of Gardasil and Cervarix found that they were nearly 100% effective, whereas the trials before the approval of Gardasil 9 found it to be closer to 97% effective.

Who should get it and when?

The CDC’s base recommendation suggests that women through the age of 26 and men through the age of 21 receive the vaccine. They go into more detailed recommendations for different sexual lifestyles and conditions toward the end of their HPV page for parents.

Should I get it?

While we recommend following the guidelines of the CDC, this vaccine is considered optional and we here at Surgical Associates of Grinnell support that this is a personal decision. We recommend consulting with your primary care provider or contacting our team to discuss the best care for you!

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