What to Expect Post-Op from Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgical procedures are minimally invasive, allowing for very brief recovery time with low chances of complications. While most patients will only experience minimal discomfort and inconvenience, there are still a number of things to be aware of post-op.
- Pain: Pain will usually be at its worst around your stomach, especially for gastric bypass and sleeve procedures, which involve making surgical modifications to the stomach. Overall, however, it will be minimal.
- Nausea: The medications used during surgery will often cause nausea. In addition, nausea may occur if you misgauge portions or consume certain substances. Proper diet adjustments will help prevent this.
- Hospital stay: For gastric sleeve and bypass procedures, hospital stays usually last a day or two, possibly longer if necessary. Lap band surgery will allow you to go home the same day.
- Healing: The surgical wound will usually be completely sealed after 3 weeks. During that time, patients should avoid strenuous activities, soaking in a bath, or swimming. Most patients take 2 to 3 weeks off from work to recover.
- Energy levels: The body takes energy to heal. That, combined with limited food intake, will result in diminished energy levels for a couple weeks. Take time to rest, but also try to be active whenever possible. After you lose weight, your energy levels will likely increase.
- Diet: After surgery, you will be put on a progressive diet. Starting with fluids, you will progress to soft proteins until, after about 8 weeks, you’ll be able to eat regular foods again. You will want to avoid bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes at first and minimize those in the future. In addition, you should keep your meals low on fat and sugar and high on protein to ensure weight loss.
- Skin sagging: The degree to which your skin sags will depend on how much weight you lose and your skin’s elasticity. Exercise can help reduce excess skin, but some patients also opt for plastic surgery later on.
- Hair loss: Rapidly shedding pounds will often result in temporary hair loss. The best way to minimize this is to keep to the prescribed program after your operation.
- Weight loss: If you maintain a healthy lifestyle after surgery, you can expect weight loss. Most patients lose between 40% and 75% of their extra weight, depending on the procedure.
- Improvement of conditions: Comorbid conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, apnea, etc., will likely improve as you lose weight.