After (Your) Weight-Loss Surgery

After your surgery you will remain in the hospital one to three days after surgery because the first few days after surgery are important for your stomach to heal.

Immediately after surgery, you will not be permitted to eat or drink anything by mouth. You will have your IV in place, which will provide you with the necessary fluids your body needs.

Several hours after surgery, your nurse will sit you up in bed. If possible you will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk. You will be continually encouraged to walk as much as possible for the duration of your stay. You will walk to the toilet; you will not use a bedpan. Walking will help move the air in your lungs and promote circulation in your legs. It is important that you increase the distance that you walk each time. If you need assistance initially, please feel free to ask your nurse.

You will be asked to use your Incentive Spirometer or Tri-Flo every hour. It is extremely important to take deep breaths and to cough frequently. This is necessary to help clear your lungs of mucus that can develop after having a general anesthetic.

Once your doctor permits, you will be given ice chips. It is important to remember to chew anything you place in your mouth thoroughly, including ice chips. Once you are permitted, you will advance to a clear liquid diet. You will only have room for a very small amount of gelatin or broth at each meal. These must be taken very slowly.

Remember to drink liquids between meals. Save your drink on your tray for later in the day. Stop drinking liquids when you start eating, and do not start again until 45-60 minutes after eating. You need liquids to keep you hydrated, but if you drink them with your meal they will fill you up and you will not be able to eat your solid foods.

You may be sent more food on your tray than you are able to eat; you should not try to eat it all. Take plenty of time between swallows, it is recommended you put down your fork or spoon in-between bites. You must always remember that the size of your new pouch is about half the size of an egg and the opening from your new pouch to your intestine is about the size of a dime. It is very important especially in the beginning to not overload your stomach; this may put a strain on the staple line.

While you are at Baptist Hospital you will have a case manager who will supervise your care. She will remind you to walk frequently, take deep breaths every hour and make sure your care is meeting your needs. The case manager will also coordinate your discharge home. She will discuss your personal conditions with your physician to ensure your needs are met at home. If you should have any concerns or questions please feel free to ask her; it may be helpful to write these questions down to help remind you.

When you go home, it is important to continue to walk and do your deep breathing exercises several times each day. Walk as much as you can tolerate without becoming exhausted. Short frequent walks are better than one or two long walks. Gradually increase the distance you are walking each day so that by six weeks after surgery you are walking one to two miles per day.

You may resume normal activity including light housework, but do not lift any heavy objects which may strain your incision line. Avoid lifting, pulling, or pushing anything over 10 pounds for 6-8 weeks.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • A fever over 100.4 °F (38 °C) or chills
  • A red, bleeding, or draining incision
  • Ongoing vomiting
  • Increased pain at the site of incision
  • Pain in your legs or chest
  • Trouble breathing

When Cleared by Your Surgeon:

You may resume driving as soon as you have stopped taking your pain medications and you feel strong enough to make a trip. This is often two to three weeks after surgery.

You may resume sexual relations when you desire or when you are able. This is usually no sooner than two to four weeks after surgery.

Do not return to work until instructed. Most often you may return to work two to six weeks after surgery.

Diet after Surgery

The type of diet you are on when you get home is up to your doctor and will vary patient to patient. It is important to remember to stay on your diet and not to advance your diet without consent from your doctor. The rate of advancement from one diet to the next is dependent on how you are tolerating foods; however, by eight weeks after the operation you should probably be eating a regular diet.

You may notice certain side effects, or after effects from your diet once you get home. These can include:

  • Dehydration

    Symptoms of dehydration include feeling dried out, tired or having dark yellow urine. Your surgery reduced the size of your stomach, which makes it harder to get the right amount of liquids. It is important to get 48-64 ounces of liquids a day.

  • Dumping Syndrome

    This is an uncomfortable feeling of nausea, lightheadedness, upset stomach, and diarrhea, associated with the ingestion of high calorie liquids, high sugar foods or dairy products. You want to try and avoid these foods.

If you have specific diet questions, a registered dietician will be visiting your patient room while you are in the hospital and she will be available to answer your questions once you go home.

Follow Up After Surgery

After you return home, it will be important to see your doctor as instructed. It is very important for your doctor to see how you are doing and to check your weight.

Three-Month Weight-Loss Center Follow Up

After about three months, your surgeon will refer you to the Baptist Hospital Bariatric Center Clinic. There you will be medically supervised by a registered nurse and a registered dietitian who will work closely with your bariatric surgeon. Your weight loss will be monitored, lab work will be ordered and close attention will be focused on your nutritional status.

At Baptist Hospital Bariatric Center, patients are followed for five years. All follow up is provided by Baptist Hospital as part of your surgery if your surgery is performed at our hospital. You will be able to receive any information regarding your new lifestyle as well as ask any nutrition questions that may have come up while at home.

B-12 Injections

This is a necessary supplement that you will be required to receive for the rest of your life. You may come to the Bariatric office to receive these shots. It will also be necessary for you to take daily vitamin supplements, which you may purchase at any food or drug store.

Support Group

You are encouraged to attend the monthly support group meetings that meet at Baptist Hospital. The support group is for new patients as well as post-operative patients. You will find these meetings very beneficial to you while you make the physical and emotional adjustments that come with weight loss. It is comforting to know there are friends that have been where you are now.