Bariatric Surgery Aftercare and Follow-up Procedures
After weight loss surgery comes another important phase in the bariatric surgery process: aftercare. This is the process of recovering and monitoring your progress so you’re able to reach your goal weight in the healthiest way possible.
Immediately following surgery, you must be disciplined in regards to your diet and general lifestyle. Our aftercare nurse will help ensure you are on track to lose weight and reduce the health risks associated with bariatric surgery immediately after surgery.
How to Help Your Body Heal Immediately After Surgery
Whether you undergo a gastric sleeve operation or a gastric bypass operation, you can expect to be in the hospital for at least two days following your bariatric surgery. Some people, however, may spend up to five days in the hospital before going home.
Ultimately, when you’re released depends on how your body responds to surgery. Although you won’t be able to go back to work full-time for at least two weeks following surgery, you may be able to work on a limited basis.
In order to give your stomach time to heal, you’ll be limited to a liquid diet for about a week following surgery. Over the course of about four weeks, you’ll gradually progress to a solid food diet.
It’s not only important you make sure your body heals on the inside; you need to make sure it heals on the outside as well. Fortunately, since bariatric procedures are done laparoscopically, you won’t have any major incisions.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of them. Most importantly, you need to keep any wounds dry for three weeks following surgery. The only exception is when you shower. You also want to keep the wound exposed to fresh air, as that will help prevent infection.
However, if you have a wound that’s bleeding or getting caught on articles of clothing, you may want to cover it with bandages. Just be sure to switch them out once a day and to ALWAYS wash your hands before handling the bandages.
While the failure rate of weight loss surgery is incredibly low, you will still experience some uncomfortable side effects, including moderate pain, swelling and bruising, following the procedure. It is also common to experience itchiness or numbness near the incision site. This is caused by nerves that get cut during the operation.
However, serious pain after the procedure is an indicator that something is wrong. Swelling in the legs, chest pain, infrequent urination, prolonged nausea and a fever are all signs of a potentially serious health issue. A Lighter Me’s staff will be on call the entire time you’re in Tijuana in the case any major issues come up.
Aftercare Will Help Start You Off on the Right Track
Typically, aftercare programs are comprised of diet and exercise after surgery.
Following your doctor’s recommended diet after bariatric surgery is the most important aspect of post-surgery monitoring. Making the right food choices will help you speed up your weight loss process, and making poor choices will usually undermine your weight loss progress.
Our aftercare nurse will also advise you on an exercise routine, which will start out slow then increase to include more physically-demanding activities.
Depending on your surgery, supplements can be an important aspect of maintaining a nutritious diet. Our bariatric surgery aftercare nurses will also guide you through the process of following a vitamin and mineral supplement regimen.
Can I Manage My Own Aftercare Following Weight Loss Surgery?
Many patients who have undergone bariatric surgery often feel that the hard part is over once the procedure is complete. They are somewhat surprised to find that bariatric surgery involves a series of phases that can seem daunting.
Bariatric surgery often requires follow-ups and progress reports, which sometimes seem unnecessary to patients. But patients should not take control of their own aftercare – research says patients increase their weight loss when they are actively engaged with their aftercare nurse.
Patients who follow their physician’s suggestions usually lose more weight – 35 percent more – after bariatric surgery than those who don’t follow their doctor’s suggestions. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery reports that those patients who lose more weight are also more likely to keep off the weight.