Bariatric Post-Surgery Care
Following surgery, most patients will be discharged from the hospital after one to three days. Regular check-ups will help guard against complications. Nutrition classes to help you adjust your habits also will be scheduled.
Changes to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent modifications in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. Post-surgery dietary guidelines will vary by surgeon.
Your health care providers will discuss your personalized nutrition instructions with you after your surgery. However, the following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines for weight loss surgery patients:
- When you start eating solid food, it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
- Don't drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
- Omit desserts and other items that have sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
Regular Physician Visits
You will need to meet with your surgeon within seven to 10 days following surgery. Follow-up checkups will be scheduled every one to three months during the first year, then every six months for the rest of your life.
Returning to Work
Recovery time varies by individual. The ability to resume normal activities will depend on your procedure and your physical condition. Many patients resume normal activity within six weeks of the procedure.
Especially for Women
Women who could become pregnant are encouraged to use the most effective birth control during the first 16 to 24 months following surgery, as the potential for damage to a fetus is increased.
Get the Support You Need
Weight loss surgery does not immediately resolve emotional or health issues associated with obesity. Many patients find that support groups help them adjust to the changes in their lifestyle following surgery, increasing their chance of maintaining their weight loss long term. MidMichigan Health offers local support groups for its bariatric surgery patients. For more information about bariatric surgery support groups, call the MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199.
Body Contouring to Remove Excess Skin
Once they have achieved their goal weight, many patients find themselves dealing with loose, sagging skin, especially in the arms, thighs and abdomen. This excess skin not only detracts from the person's appearance, but in some cases may cause health or mobility problems. Some patients elect to undergo cosmetic surgery to remove this excess hanging skin and achieve a sleeker body shape. Talk to your doctor about whether this option is right for you and when would be an appropriate time to consider follow up surgery.