What after bariatric surgery? Care and Support

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Bariatric Surgery is a minimally invasive weight loss correction procedure. Medical management after the surgery is a cause of major concern for most people.  

Let us help ease your fears. Here’s a list of frequently asked questions about post-surgical care. 

When will I be allowed to go home? 

If you’ve had laparoscopic surgery, you will spend one night in the hospital after surgery. If you have any complications, you may need to stay in the hospital longer. 

When going home:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on caring for yourself during recovery.  
  • You may need to wait several weeks before resuming normal activities, including sex and exercise. 

You may need to limit or avoid using an over-the-bed table for at least four weeks after surgery or until your doctor says it is OK. This is important for preventing hernias (when tissue pushes through weakened muscle). 
What liquids can I drink after surgery? 

After bariatric surgery, it’s important to limit liquids during the first few days. While you’re still able to retain some amount of fluid in your body, your stomach is about as empty as a slice of bread in a landfill. For this reason, limiting fluids can help prevent the leaking of digestive juices into your abdominal cavity.  

When can I start adding food back into my diet? 

  • You will be eating nothing but liquids for the first four weeks after your surgery.  
  • Starting week five, you can begin to slowly add soft foods like yogurt and scrambled eggs into your diet.  
  • By week eight, you should be close to back on a regular diet, except for avoiding certain foods (some people have sensitivities to gluten, dairy, or both). 

It’s important not to rush things after bariatric surgery!  

Is it okay to drink coffee, tea, or alcohol after bariatric surgery? 

Tea & Coffee-While some patients do choose to abstain from tea or coffee, most patients can drink these beverages as long as they are not sweetened.  

Alcohol- It is important to avoid alcoholic beverages for the first six months following surgery. This is because alcohol is metabolized differently after bariatric surgery and it can lead to serious complications such as liver toxicity and dumping syndrome, which occurs when food leaves the stomach too quickly and enters the small intestine in an undigested state, leading to nausea and diarrhea. 

Do I need to take any vitamins after bariatric surgery? 

You will need to take vitamin supplements for the rest of your life. Your surgeon and dietitian will give you a list of vitamins you should be taking. The most common are vitamin B12, calcium, and iron supplements. 

When can I start exercising again? 

After surgery, you’ll want to start slow when it comes to exercising. Following surgery, your body needs to focus on healing and recovery. But once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, you can start with 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as walking) five times a week. You may gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. 

Be sure not to push yourself too hard at first—and remember that it’s OK if something feels uncomfortable for a little bit after surgery! 

What diet should I follow after bariatric surgery? 

  • You’ll need to meet with a dietitian who will create a meal plan customized to your body requirements. 
  • In general, your diet should include: 
  • Protein-rich foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs) 
  • Fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen) 
  • Low-fat dairy foods (milk, yogurt) 
  • Whole grains and cereals  
  • High-fiber foods 
  • Alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks like soda shouldn’t be part of your diet. They have few nutrients and are high in calories.  
  • You should also avoid smoking because it can slow down the healing process after surgery. 

Here’s what you need to know:  

  • Eat five or six small meals a day.
  • Don’t eat any solid food for at least three weeks-to-one month after your surgery. Instead, stick with soft foods and beverages such as pudding, broth, applesauce, yogurt, fruit smoothies, and shakes. 
  • Avoid drinking liquids 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after meals so that your meal has time to digest properly.
  • Chew foods slowly and thoroughly; don’t swallow large pieces of food or whole bites of food that haven’t been chewed well enough to be swallowed easily without choking or being stuck in the gastric sleeve. 
  • Don’t use straws when drinking liquids because they can cause gas pains and vomiting if used after laparoscopic surgery (and they can create air pockets inside the pouch). Also, avoid carbonated drinks because they can increase gas pains and vomiting after laparoscopic surgery (they are okay for gastric bypass patients). 
  • Drink at least 64 ounces (about 1.89 L) of water daily to avoid dehydration. 
  • Exercise regularly to help keep your weight down by burning off excess calories so you won’t gain back all the weight you’ve lost through dieting alone. 
     

START YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AT OUR CENTER TODAY    

To schedule a consultation with Doral Health & Wellness call our offices on 718-DORAL-55 or contact us online.  

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