What can I expect after my gastric bypass procedure?
Knowing what to expect after your gastric bypass operation is an important factor to consider when making your decision on whether to have surgery or not. To help you get a better idea of what to expect, we have put together some information on gastric bypass aftercare that we think you might find useful. The majority of this information is general to all weight loss surgery patients. Your surgeon will be able to give answers to any questions you may have which are specific to you and your surgery.
How will I feel after surgery?
In order to carry out your gastric bypass procedure, the anaesthetist will give you a general anaesthetic. This means that you will be asleep for the duration of the procedure. You will wake up slowly when the surgery is complete. You may feel a little drowsy and confused but this will wear off within a few hours. Your memory and concentration may be affected to 1 or 2 days but this will soon return to normal. If you experience any discomfort or pain after your surgery, your surgeon will prescribe appropriate pain medication to manage this.
When can I go home after my surgery?
You will need to stay in hospital from 1 to 3 nights after your gastric bypass surgery. Before you leave, you will be given an appointment to come back within 10 to 14 days. During this appointment, your surgeon will assess your progress and ensure that you are recovering as expected. If you are experiencing any issues, let your surgeon know at this appointment. Of course, if there is a serious problem or you feel very unwell then you should seek medical advice urgently.
What can I eat after my surgery?
In order to get the best results from your surgery, it is important to try your hardest to introduce regular exercise and a healthy diet. This will involve eating much smaller portions that you are used to, and making sure that you get enough protein and fibre. You will also require some vitamin and mineral supplements as your new, smaller stomach can not absorb enough nutrients from the food that you eat.
For the first few weeks after the procedure, your surgeon will give you specific advice on what you should eat. This usually starts off as just liquids and as your stomach recovers you will be able to build up to more solid foods. After around 6 weeks, you should be able to eat normal foods again.
When can I drive after my surgery?
You may not be able to drive for 5 to 14 days after your surgery. Your surgeon will be able to advise your more specifically on this during your consultation.
Because you will be unable to drive straight after surgery, you will need to arrange for someone to take you home from hospital. You may like to ask a member of your family or a friend. If you struggle to arrange this, please let us know and we can help you to get home safely.
Will I be in pain after my surgery?
Your surgeon will prescribe simple pain relief for approximately the first week after your surgery as this is when you will be in the most discomfort. After this first week, you should be able to switch to over-the-counter pain relief medications. By the third week after your surgery, most of your pain and discomfort should have subsided and you should no longer require pain relief medications.
When can I go back to work after my surgery?
The amount of time you will need to take off work will depend on the type of job that you do. If your job is less active (e.g. office work) then you can probably return 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. If your job requires more physical exertion, (e.g. tennis coach, professional wrestling, labourer, cleaner) you will probably require 3 to 4 weeks off work before you return. In any case, you should avoid even light activities for at least 2 to 4 weeks.
When can I exercise again after my surgery?
After your gastric bypass operation, your surgeon will likely advise that you try to do a little light walking every day to avoid the formation of blood clots. Aside from this however, you should avoid all other forms of exercise for at least 4 weeks after surgery. Aerobic activities can increase swelling. Furthermore, you should hold off on all sexual activity for at least 2 weeks after surgery.
From 4 to 8 weeks after your surgery you can begin to reintroduce light aerobic activities like cycling or swimming. You will also be able to take part in activities that do not involve vigorous movement, such as lifting weights.
From 8 weeks after surgery, all activities and sports should be possible again. Keeping active is an essential part of your new healthy lifestyle post-weight loss surgery and will help you to achieve the best possible results.
How can I look after my scars?
You are are most likely to have several small scars after a gastric bypass procedure, but may have a larger scar instead. Initially, when your wounds heal, your scars will appear pink and a little lumpy. Regular scar care can help to improve their appearance with time.
Scar care can involve daily massage using a scar gel or a moisturiser. You can begin daily scar care as soon as your wounds have fully healed. As your scars get less tender, you can increase the pressure of your massage to smooth out the scar tissue and reduce the lumpy appearance. It is vital that you follow the scar care regime that your surgeon gives to you.
When will I see the final results of my surgery?
It will take some time before you see the final results of your gastric bypass surgery. It can take from 8 to 12 weeks before your body feels back to normal again after surgery. By this point, you will likely have begun to notice some weight loss. Following an appropriate diet and exercise regime, you should continue to lose weight steadily. After a gastric bypass, up to 60% of excess weight can be lost in the first 2 years. Therefore, it is important to remember that this is not a quick fix.