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Pre-operative liver shrinkage diet (1200 kcal/day)

Before surgery, it is essential you follow a strict calorie-controlled diet.

This will reduce the size of your liver to ensure the operation can be done by keyhole/laparoscopic surgery. If your liver is too large it will be very difficult for the Surgeon to perform the operation safely. It may be necessary for the operation to be abandoned, or you will have to have an open operation, increasing the risks of surgery and delaying your recovery.

You will need to follow this diet strictly for 2 weeks before your surgery. It is a very restricted diet that is low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates.  This diet will encourage the body to use up glycogen stores (carbohydrate which is stored in the liver) and some water, which in turn shrinks the size of your liver.

It is vitally important that you follow the diet strictly as the liver can replace its glycogen stores very quickly.  Eating a single carbohydrate-rich meal shortly before your operation can undo all your efforts and lead to difficulties during surgery.

This diet is only recommended prior to your operation and must not be followed afterwards.

If you have diabetes and are treated with insulin or tablets (e.g. gliclazide, glibenclamide, metformin) you may need to adjust your medication to ensure you do not experience low blood sugar levels while following his diet. Contact your GP/Diabetes Specialist Nurse/Practice Nurse for advice before starting the diet.

If your diabetes is controlled by diet alone, you will not need to worry about your blood sugars becoming too low.

In addition to the diet remember to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, and keep active e.g. walking, swimming, gardening.

The Pre-operative Liver Shrinkage Diet is not advised for: Adolescents, pregnant/lactating women, the elderly, people with unstable cardiac or cerebrovascular disease, acute or chronic renal failure, severe or end stage liver failure, or acute psychiatric disorders. If in doubt, please contact your Dietician for advice.

What does the liver shrinkage diet involve?

This 1200kcal diet is low in carbohydrate, fat and moderate in protein.

It is very important to stick to the portion sizes outlined in the download information and that your portions are accurately measured, otherwise you may eat too much and consequently the diet will not work.

Please click on the ‘download’ option to view the full information