WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
At The Center for Metabolic and Obesity Surgery in Altamonte, Florida, it is our goal to help you understand the unique recovery requirements dictated by the weight loss surgery options offered by Board Certified surgeon Dr. Wiljon Beltre, because we believe that an educated patient is a successful patient! If you are severely obese and/or suffer from obesity-related health problems, weight loss surgery can be a critical tool to “jump start” your weight loss journey, but it is not the “easy way out” people too often believe it to be. All forms of weight loss surgery require long-term lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, a regular exercise routine, and participation in a support network, to improve your chances of achieving the weight loss you want—beginning the day you consult with your surgeon, continuing through your immediate recovery, and long into the future. Dr. Beltre and his staff believe that the more you understand about weight loss surgery, the short- and long-term recovery requirements, and the commitment this form of surgery requires, the better able you will be to take control of your weight and your health for the long-term benefit of your well-being!
The following guide provides some general, non-dietary guidance about the initial recovery period from weight loss surgery; however, it is not intended to be a replacement for specific information provided to you by your surgical team that will be custom-tailored to meet the requirements demanded by your specific procedure, health concerns, and weight loss goals.
Once your surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room where the hospital staff will monitor your respiratory status and other vital signs to be sure you are stable before sending you to the nursing unit. If there should be any concerns regarding your vital signs or respiratory status, you may be sent to the surgical intensive care unit to be monitored post operatively. This does take place on occasion and you should be aware of the possibility. You may experience pressure in your abdomen during your stay in the recovery room. This is a normal occurrence; however, you should notify your nurse of any discomfort that you may be experiencing. When the Anesthesiologist feels you are stable and doing well, you will be evaluated for transfer to the nursing unit.
Most weight loss surgeries require a hospital stay of about two to five days, depending on type of procedure performed, your specific medical history, and any specific risks or complications. While you are in the hospital, your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiration will be continually monitored by the nursing staff, who will also encourage and help you begin leg exercises and movements to prevent complications. You should report any symptoms of nausea, anxiety, muscle spasms, pain, or shortness of breath to enable the nursing staff to effectively assist your recovery. You will be on pain medications, and should honestly report all pain and discomfort to the hospital staff to help them manage your pain correctly. While in the hospital, you will be on a diet of clear liquids, but can be discharged once you can ingest pureed foods without vomiting.
One of the greatest post-surgical risks common to all surgical procedures is pulmonary embolism, or the development of a blood clot (usually in the leg) that moves to the lungs and blocks air flow. The nursing staff will help you get out of bed and begin walking, if possible, within hours of your procedure to encourage blood flow and decrease the risk of clotting. You will also be given a dose of blood thinner before and after surgery and asked to wear a compression device on your legs while in bed. You should continue to walk as much as possible and take the prescribed blood thinner at home as directed by your surgeon to continue to minimize the risk of this dangerous complication.
ONCE YOU ARE HOME:
Recovery time: You should plan on taking at least 7-14 days off of work; if you need to return to work sooner than 14 days, try to begin with a less-than-full time schedule and work slowly back into a full time routine. You will need to be sure your employer will allow you to take time to eat your meals at work slowly to ensure proper nutrition.
- It is critical to avoid lifting anything heavier than 25 pounds for at least 4 weeks after your surgery: NO EXCEPTIONS!
Wound care: After surgery, you will have multiple small incisions on your abdomen and steri strips on these incisions. You may begin showering 24 hours after your surgery: let soapy water run over the incisions and gently pat them dry when done. Leave the steri strips intact; they will eventually fall off on their own. Contact your surgeon at once if you experience:
- Redness at incision site
- Increased tenderness or warmth at incision site
- Fever above 101.0
- Yellow or green discharge at incision site
- Excessive swelling at incision site
- Bleeding that does not stop
Sleeping: You may sleep in any comfortable position once you get home, although many patients find that sleeping on their stomachs is uncomfortable at first. Trouble sleeping for the first week or so after surgery is common due to the 24-hour hospital environment; taking pain medication right before bed can help you feel more comfortable and get a better night’s sleep. If sleeping problems persist, you may try a mild, crushed sleep aid such as “Tylenol PM”.
Exercise: Regular household activities and your new exercise routine should begin immediately. At first, you will tire easily and need frequent rest breaks, but do not get discouraged: as the healing process progresses and you begin to lose weight, exercise will get easier and you will tire less easily. Think of it as a reverse snowball effect: as a snowball rolls downhill, it goes faster and grows bigger, and as you get smaller and healthier, you get faster and the exercise gets easier and easier!
In fact, the importance of exercise cannot be stressed enough: it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself after surgery to keep healthy, increase your energy level, and lose the maximum amount of weight. Walking burns about 200 calories per mile, and we recommend you begin immediately! After a couple of weeks, you can begin substituting other exercises or adding onto your walking regimen, ensuring that you include an aerobic component that raises your heart rate for a healthy target health rate for a sustained period, preferably 20-30 minutes. Be sure to include resistance training prior to your cardio/aerobic workout, using resistance bands or hand weights. We recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week, at minimum.
You should go straight to the Emergency Room if you experience any of the following symptoms once you are home, as they could be a sign of a pulmonary embolism or other serious complication:
- Chest pain: under the breastbone or one side, especially sharp or stabbing pain, burning, aching or dull, heavy sensation, or pain that gets worse with deep breathing, coughing, eating, bending, or stooping
- Cough, especially if it begins suddenly and/or has some blood or blood-streaked sputum
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath, at rest, during activity, or with a sudden onset
This preliminary guide is designed to give you some of the basic, non-dietary information you will need to know during the initial recovery period after your weight loss surgery. However, because each patient has a slight different medical history and slightly different nutritional requirements based on their exact surgical procedure, metabolism, and weight loss goals, your recovery will be as unique as you are. Therefore, it is critical that you work closely with Dr. Beltre and the weight loss support network at The Center for Metabolic and Obesity Surgery to monitor and support your recovery, and follow their specific guidance and advice as you advance to the next phase of your recovery: achieving your long-term weight loss goals!
CONTACT THE CENTER FOR METABOLIC AND OBESITY SURGERY
At The Center for Metabolic and Obesity Surgery, located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, we offer a proven, multifaceted approach to metabolic and bariatric surgery that will empower you to achieve your weight loss goals, improve your health and appearance, and rebuild your self-confidence. Led by esteemed, Board Certified surgeon Dr. Wiljon Beltre, one of the only fellowship-trained bariatric surgeons in Central Florida, we specialize in the latest cutting-edge procedures for safe, effective surgical weight loss coupled with a dedicated support team of caring, experienced specialists who will stand by your side to support you throughout your entire weight loss journey. Significant weight loss is not easy, but with the help of with our confidential consultation and education process, the surgical skill and experience of our medical team, and the advice and guidance of our ongoing support network, we can help you achieve the lasting weight loss success you have been dreaming about.
If you are tired of the endless rounds of fad dieting and fruitless exercise regimens and think you may be ready for significant weight loss with metabolic or bariatric surgery, or if you would like more information on what is required during your recovery from weight loss surgery, contact The Center for Metabolic and Obesity Surgery today for a free, individual consultation. We look forward to helping you start your weight loss journey today! Call 407-830-6868 or Click Here to Schedule a Consultation.