Life After Bariatric Surgery
In the initial days, weeks and months after bariatric surgery, it’s important to walk while you recover. You should also follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions very carefully to help reduce your risk of complications.
You may also require lifting restrictions to ten pounds for at least three weeks following surgery. This will depend on your type of surgery and your physician’s recommendations.
Recovering in the Hospital
The amount of time you spend in the hospital depends on which type of bariatric procedure you undergo, but generally speaking, you will spend anywhere from one, possibly two days recovering in the hospital. During this time, Inspira’s staff will monitor your vital signs and administer pain medication as needed.
After Surgery you will be given a diet of ice chips and progress to select liquids, such as juice and broth to drink. These are gentle on your system. Over the following days, you will advance from clear liquids to thicker substances, such as pudding, milk or cream-based soup—and eventually—pureed foods. Generally, by the one-month mark, you may be eating solid foods.
Before you are discharged from the hospital, you will receive information about nutritional supplements, dietary changes and more. Arrangements will also be made for a follow-up visit with your physician.
Recovering at Home
Once you are home from the hospital after bariatric surgery, it’s important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions. Any non-dissolving sutures will be removed during a follow-up visit. You will be limited to showers only for the first week, no tub baths.
The incision and abdominal muscles may ache, especially with deep breathing, coughing and exertion. It is safe to take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding, so be sure to take only recommended medications.
It will likely take several weeks to return to your previous level of stamina, and you should increase your physical activity gradually to avoid injury. Remember to follow your doctor’s orders.
Everyone responds to surgery differently, but for most, it’s normal to feel especially tired during the first month following your procedure. Light exercise and attending a support group may be helpful as you adjust to your “new normal.”
If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Fever and/or chills
- Redness, swelling, bleeding or other drainage from the incision site
- Increased pain around the incision site
- Patients tend to have better outcomes when they can share their stories with people going through similar experiences. There are many psychosocial issues that you will experience as you are on your way to a healthier lifestyle. We strongly encourage you to attend one of Inspira’s free support groups for bariatric patients.
The following resources will also help you understand how bariatric surgery can change your life, and what you can do to achieve your weight loss goals: