Recovery After Weight Loss Surgery
Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery
Pregnancy After Weight Loss Surgery
Extra Skin After Weight Loss
Activity After Weight Loss Surgery
Psychological Changes After Weight Loss Surgery
Women & Weight Loss Surgery
How Does Obesity Affect Fertility & Pregnancy?
You will be going home to recover after surgery. Your doctor or nurse will give you post-op instructions to follow. Please follow them carefully as they will help you learn how to care for yourself and heal faster. Whether you have been an inpatient (staying in the hospital after surgery) or outpatient (going home the same day of surgery), your doctor will decide when you are ready to go home. Before you go, your doctor or nurse will answer any questions you may have about home care. You will need a family member or friend to listen to these instructions with you, drive you home and help with your recovery.
Good post-op care helps you heal quickly and safely. It is important to:
- Follow all instructions and guidelines you are given
- Know how to care for your incision and control your pain
- Know the signs of problems after surgery
- Know when to call your surgeon
For Your Comfort
You may have pain after surgery. Pain medication will help you feel better and you’ll heal more quickly. Ask your doctor about other ways to control pain, such as heat, ice and relaxation techniques. Follow any instructions your doctor or nurse has given to you.
Pain medication helps you move around more comfortably. Take it only as directed, before pain becomes severe. Don’t take it more or less often than you have been instructed. Taking it before bedtime may help you sleep. Always take this, or any medication, as directed.
- Don’t drink alcohol while on pain medication.
- Don’t drive or use heavy machinery or power tools.
- Ask your doctor before taking other medications, herbs or vitamins.
Pain medication may cause constipation. Avoid laxatives unless they have been prescribed for you. Instead, increase your fluids and fiber. Tell your surgeon if you have stomach pain, nausea, skin rash, itching or hives.
Caring for Your Incision
After surgery, you may be sent home with a dressing over your incision and may have steri-strips to keep it clean and dry. You may also have a tube or drain in place. Most are easy to care for.
Dressings are usually left untouched for 24-48 hours. After that period of time you may remove the outer dressing, leaving the steri-strips in place. You will then be able to shower with the steri-strips in place. They will stay on until you are seen by your doctor. If you have a tube or drain in place, keep it clean and dry. If a tube comes out, don’t panic and don’t try to replace it, but do call your surgeon.
A slightly red, swollen incision is ok – so is some bleeding or discharge. But, if redness, bleeding, pain or swelling increases, if the incision smells bad or is warm to the touch, you may have an infection. If you notice any of these signs, gently press a clean dressing or cloth against your incision and call your surgeon. Fever can also signal infection, so take your temperature twice a day. Call your surgeon if your temperature stays at about 101° F. Call the surgeon if you have numbness of your fingers or if your toes look bluish.
Eating the Right Foods
At first, you may only want liquids (tea, soda, flavored gelatin or clear soup). When you are ready, go on to soft foods like mashed potatoes or applesauce. Then try high-protein solid foods like beans, yogurt, fish or chicken. Tell your doctor if you have food allergies or special food needs.
It’s normal to lose fluids during surgery. Drinking liquids helps you feel better and balances your body’s chemicals. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day (6-8 ounces each), unless you’ve been told not to. Watch for dark yellow urine (a sign that you may not be getting enough fluids).
Try foods that are easy to digest, like clear soup, toast, crackers, ginger ale and gelatin. Avoid fatty foods that stay in your stomach a long time. Eat small amounts more often. And drink bubbly liquids to help you burp.
Call your surgeon if you still have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea 12 hours after surgery.
Exercise / Becoming More Active
After surgery, you’re likely to feel tired. So get plenty of rest to give your body time to heal. Slowly increase your level of activity and exercise. Follow your surgeon’s advice about deep breathing, coughing, driving and other activities. Long-term, exercise will supplement a new diet and successful surgery to maximize weight loss safely.
Breathing and Coughing
To help clear your lungs and prevent pneumonia, you may be shown how to deep-breathe and cough after surgery.
- If you were sent home with a spirometer, use it as you have been shown.
- After minor surgery, breathe deeply and cough regularly for 1 to 2 days.
- After major surgery, breathe deeply and cough regularly until the pain from your incision is gone.
- Support your incision with a pillow when you cough.
- To avoid lung problems, don’t smoke.
Walking speeds healing. So get up and walk around as much as you can. Stand up slowly so you don’t get dizzy. And get plenty of rest, so you don’t become worn out. Ask your surgeon when it’s safe to get back to more activity. Don’t drive in a car until your surgeon says it’s okay. Return to exercise slowly so that you don’t become overtired or harm your surgical site.
Call Your Surgeon If
- Your incision opens up (cover it with a clean dressing or cloth).
- Your incision becomes swollen, stays red or smells bad.
- You have increased pain or soreness after moving.
- Your temperature is above 101° F.
Follow Up Care
Successful surgery includes follow-up care. Your surgeon needs to check your healing and see that you’re recovering safely. Ask when to return for your first follow-up visit and whom to call to make an appointment. Also ask when you will have your stitches, staples, tubes or drains removed.
If you’ve been taking medications for diabetes, heart disease or some other condition, ask your doctor about taking them while you recover. This can help you avoid side effects.
Returning to Work
When you are able return to work depends on your surgery and the type of work you do. Your surgeon will decide when you can return to work. Often, it’s four to six weeks after major surgery and a few days after minor surgery. You may still be tired, so take frequent breaks during your workday and rest when you go home. Remember, in your work environment you may be tempted to stray from your new diet. It is important that you stick to your regimen as prescribed by our office.
Our support groups are conducted on a monthly basis and provide a place for those who have undergone bariatric surgery a place to meet and discuss their various personal and professional issues. Bariatric surgery, for example, will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that morbid obesity might have inflicted. This is something that is discussed at our support groups. For more information click the following link: Support Groups.