Post-Op Instructions

Following physician directions and guidelines for post-operative recovery is one of the most important aspects of bariatric surgery. In fact, it is nearly as important as the procedure itself!

Be sure to follow the diet and activity instructions that your physician has carefully created, based on your goals, procedure and health history. You should ask as many questions as possible to establish a clear understanding of your medications and what can be expected during the recovery process.

At Lumin Bariatric Weight Loss, our goal is to ensure that all patients feel informed, educated and confident in the care they receive. We have created the general guidelines below as important factors to consider when examining bariatric surgery options and as a reflection of the commitment required to ensure the most effective treatment possible.

Days 0 – 14 After Surgery

Diet

A brand-new way of eating begins now. While many of us are programmed to eat at certain times of the day, bariatric surgery will help you break this habit. Having an understanding of your body and learning to listen to what it may be telling you can make a significant difference after your procedure. Your diet should consist of:

  • Sugar-free Jell-O
  • Sugar-free pudding
  • Greek yogurt
  • Crystal Light
  • Broth
  • High-protein beverages
  • Low-carbohydrate drinks
  • Water

Out of the food options listed above, water is easily the most vital. Be sure to always keep a bottle of water within reach and take care to continuously sip your water. If your stomach isn’t growing, then it is not time to eat. Do not rely on a clock or people around you to tell you when to eat. Instead, drink water and wait 10 minutes (without setting a timer) if you think you may be hungry. If you don’t remember to eat in 10 minutes, then it was most likely a craving and not true hunger that drove you to food.

Both your brain and your intestines must adjust to life after bariatric surgery. Many patients say that they don’t feel real hunger for several weeks after their procedure. Fullness can now be experienced in different ways, including nausea, reflux or pain. While these effects are typically temporary, they act as indications that you are overeating.

Do not weigh yourself during the first week after surgery. One of the side effects of bariatric surgery is water retention, which can last up to one week post-operation. Many patients gain about 7 – 15 pounds of water weight during this time, which sheds quickly and is both normal and expected.

Activity

Feel free to get up, walk, use the bathroom, prepare your own food, refill your water bottle and travel up and down flights of stairs. Take care to listen to your body and cease any activity that causes it to hurt.

While walking outside and getting exercise on a stationary bike are encouraged, please do not do any heavy lifting (nothing heavier than a gallon of milk) for the first 6 weeks. Most patients are allowed to resume intimate activity after 1 week, so long as no discomfort is experienced.

Wounded Care

Recovering patients are able to shower as usual, including cleaning the area around the surgical site. You will have a Dermabond dressing, which is sterile superglue with a faint purple color. Although it begins to flake after about a week, please do not pick or peel it off.

Letting it be will help to improve the appearance of scarring. No bathing or swimming is allowed during the first 2 weeks, post-surgery.

New Medications

  • Hycet: The ingredients of this post-operative pain medication primarily consist of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Because this medication already includes acetaminophen, known as the primary ingredient in Tylenol, do not take it with additional over-the-counter pain relievers. Doing so can result in an accidental overdose.

    Patients can typically expect to take 15 mL every 4 hours to control pain. A common side effect of this medication is nausea, so be sure to consume a protein drink or Greek yogurt first. This medication may also cause constipation. Over-the-counter laxatives, such as Miralax, can be taken to encourage further comfort.

  • Protonix: Patients will take this proton pump inhibitor for the first 3 months after their surgery. This medication has been shown to decrease and minimize leakage. Typical dosages are just 1 tablet per day.
  • Lovenox: This blood-thinning medication may be prescribed for the first 2 weeks after surgery for patients who may have be at a particularly high risk for forming blood clots.
  • Multivitamins: All patients must take multivitamins every day for the rest of their lives. Acceptable choices include Centrum Junior, Flintstones vitamins and Centrum Adult Chewable.
  • Calcium Supplements: Lumin Bariatric Weight Loss recommends 2 Viactiv Soft Chews per day. These should also be taken indefinitely.

Old Medications

One of the most liberating aspects of bariatric surgery is the ability to no longer be dependent on certain medications. Be sure to make an appointment with your primary physician about 1 week after surgery to discuss phasing out any diabetes and blood pressure medications that you currently take.

Reasons to Call Your Surgeon

Your safety after your procedure is Lumin Bariatric Weight Loss’s top priority. If you think you are experiencing a life or death emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
  • Nausea, vomiting and the inability to keep any liquids down for more than 4 hours. Dehydration is a common bariatric surgery complication and you may need intravenous fluids.
  • Dark-colored urine (similar to strong tea) or extreme thirst. These are also hallmark signs of dehydration.
  • Redness, swelling and/or bleeding from your incisions
  • Extreme pain that cannot be controlled by your pain medications
  • Fever and/or chills
  • The sudden onset of shortness of breath and/or the swelling of one leg, causing pain in the calf with movement, are common symptoms of a blood clot. These complications can quickly become dangerous. Call your physician right away or travel to the closest emergency room if you experience either of these symptoms.

You should feel increasingly stronger and better with each day that passes after your operation. If you’re feeling worse instead of better, this is also an indicator to call your surgeon. Lumin Bariatric Weight Loss is dedicated to effective and compassionate treatments.

If you are suffering from a problem during your recovery, we want to know right away so that we can ensure the highest quality patient care.

Weeks 2 – 4 After Surgery

Activity

At about 2 weeks after your procedure, you should feel well enough to begin light exercise. Walking 30 minutes each day is an excellent way to begin implementing regular activity into your schedule. At Lumin Bariatric Weight Loss, we also recommend stationary bikes as great ways to get exercise while watching T.V., reading or even playing on your tablet.

Typically, you will be cleared to take a bath or go swimming after about 2 weeks. Try going for a walk in a nearby pool! This helps to support arthritic joints while the resistance of walking through water is a wonderful exercise option, particularly during the scorching summer months.

Remember, our recommendations are customized based on the individual patient – If 30 minutes of exercise per day sounds overwhelming, start small! Walk or bike as much as you can and then try to go a little further each day.

Diet

At about 2 weeks post-surgery, you will advance to a soft diet. Our nutritionist will discuss food options available to you at this stage in your recovery.

This includes foods such as:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Ground beef
  • Shredded chicken
  • Mushy vegetables
  • Soft, flaky fish

Medications

  • Protonix: You will continue your proton pump inhibitor for a total of 3 months.
  • Multivitamins: Regular multivitamins should be taken daily and for the rest of your life.
  • Calcium Supplements: These supplements support overall bone health and should also be taken daily for the rest of your life.

By now, you will have likely ceased taking many of your blood pressure and diabetes medications.

Marked improvement in diabetes occurs nearly immediately after bariatric surgery.

Additionally, blood pressure improvements are generally noted about 2 – 4 weeks post-operation.

Month 1+ After Surgery

Diet

At about one month after bariatric surgery, you will begin to eat regular food. While you’re at our office, you will review dietary and exercise habits with one of our knowledgeable physicians.

Lumin Bariatric Weight Loss recommends keeping a food journal to ensure accountability and that you’re making healthy food choices in the months after your procedure.

Activity

You should feel about 98% of your normal self around 6 weeks post-operation. Continue your regular exercise as it will be to your benefit by continuing to spur your weight loss. At this time, you will likely be cleared to resume strenuous activity and lifting heavier weighted items.

Those patients with jobs involving heavy lifting or manual labor are generally allowed to return to work now.

Medications

  • Protonix: You may stop taking this medication after 3 months have passed since the date of your surgery, with official clearance from your surgeon.
  • Multivitamins: Your multivitamin should be taken daily for the rest of your life.
  • Calcium Supplements: Your daily calcium supplement should also be taken for the rest of your life.

Reasons to Call Your Surgeon

At approximately 6 weeks post-surgery, your risk of any complications is extremely minimal. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon.

These guidelines were created to give you a general overview of what to expect during your bariatric surgery recovery process, as well as the speed at which you will heal and be able to take on regular tasks and activity.

Whether you are preparing for an upcoming bariatric procedure, you’re in the recovery process or you’re simply trying to find more information, please contact Lumin Bariatric’s experienced surgeons or medical staff with any questions.

Life After Surgery

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