After Bariatric Surgery

The Wellborn Clinic offers a comprehensive aftercare program to support you after bariatric surgery. Our team of weight-loss experts are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcomes from your procedure through exceptional medical care, pre and post-operative education, and our patient support group.

Here’s what you can expect in the days, weeks, and months after a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or LAP-BAND procedure:

In The Hospital

Depending on the procedure you choose and factors like your age, health, and current medications, you can expect to leave the hospital one to three days after your weight loss surgery.

In most cases, patients are asked to walk a few short steps once they have fully recovered from the surgical anesthesia – this can help reduce the risk of blood clots and encourage the digestive system to ‘wake up’.

While in the hospital, your vital signs will be carefully monitored, and you will be given pain medication as needed. Your nurse will encourage you to perform breathing exercises using a simple plastic device known as a spirometer.

When You Go Home

Your bariatric surgeon will decide when you are ready to be discharged. Before you leave the hospital, you will meet with our discharge planner to discuss your post-surgical care plan, diet, and arrange follow-up visits.

You should have a trusted friend or family member pick you up from the hospital, and stay with you for a few days once you return home. Plan on moving slowly for a while, and be sure to avoid any movements or heavy lifting that could cause you to strain your stomach muscles.

Post-Surgical Complications

As with any type of surgery, complications can occur after your weight loss procedure. Although these complications are rare, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience:

  • Sharp pain in your chest, abdomen, or legs
  • Redness, bleeding, or pus-like drainage from your surgical site
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, dizziness, and/or severe weakness
  • A fever of 100.5 F or greater
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

Diet After Bariatric Surgery

For the first few days, you will be on a clear liquids diet that includes — clear liquids (broth, juice, water, tea, coffee, Jello and Popsicles (sugar-free). It is important to take in at least 48 ounces of liquid a day to prevent dehydration. Count your calories. Do not exceed 800 calories/day. Remember liquid calories add up very fast. Do not drink carbonated beverages as this will make the gas worse. Avoid milk products until gas has improved. Remember to walk, walk, and walk some more.

Week 1 — Liquid diet: soups, thicker liquids, fat free or low-calorie yogurt and puddings. Must be the consistency that will go up thru a straw.

Weeks 2-4 — Soft foods: eggs, cheeses, salads, ground meats, beans.

Weeks 4-6 — Regular food: this will be trial and error.

Remember:

  • Chew, chew, chew and chew some more
  • Drink all the way up until you take the first bite, than nothing to drink for at least 60 minutes after you eat. Take no longer than 20 min. to eat your meal.
  • Once you begin your soft diet, no more liquid calories. No milk, No protein shakes, No juices. Avoid all high caloric liquids.
  • When trying a new food, eat it by itself, and introduce all new foods slowly
  • Above is a general guideline. Patients will receive more specific instructions from the dietician and from the surgeon.

A New Nutritional Plan

Once solid foods can be consumed without nausea or stomach irritation, close attention will need to be paid to the diet. Liquids will pass through the digestive system quickly and will not create a sensation of being full. High-calorie beverages should be avoided from this point on. Instead, water, broth, tea or coffee can be consumed as long as no sugar is added.

Too much food or large chunks of food can block the reduced stomach. Chewing food well and eating only small bites can avoid this. These meals must contain adequate nutrients and elements such as vegetables, fruit, bread, and/or dairy products.

In addition to dietary changes, other changes may naturally occur or must occur by necessity in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve successful weight loss goals. These include regular exercise as directed by a surgeon, doctor, or physical therapist; emotional changes in regard to food and physical change that the body will experience; changes in relationships; daily lifestyle habits; and changes in regard to overall health and wellness.

Follow-Up Appointments

You’ll be asked to return to our clinic for a number of follow-up appointments after bariatric surgery. During these appointments we’ll check your progress, review any medications you’re on, and answer any questions you have about your recovery.

You’ll also meet with our dietitian to plan your post-surgical diet. When you first leave the hospital, you will be on a high-protein liquid diet. As your body heals, you will slowly re-introduce solid foods.

Activity After Weight Loss Surgery

You should expect to return to work in one to two weeks after your bariatric procedure, and in most cases patients are fully recovered within six to eight weeks.

Your bariatric surgeon can help you understand what types of activities you should avoid immediately following your operation.

Contact Us

To learn more about what you can expect after bariatric surgery, contact us at The Wellborn Clinic or enroll in one of our free weight loss seminars.