In bariatric surgery, a variety of procedures are used to remove portions of the stomach, or apply the use of a gastric band to reduce weight in patients who are obese. Such an invasive surgery, sometimes performed on patients who may already have poor health, poses serious risks associated with recovery. This is because, despite the fact that it is one of the safest procedures, aggravating the areas that were subjected to the procedure can result in complications. The recovery time is shorter than most type of major surgeries and the guidelines one should follow are quite straightforward. Bigger cuts heal slower, as in open surgery, when compared to laparoscopic surgery.
Most patients will say in hospital for between 24-48 hours after the surgery to make sure that no complications arise after the procedure is done.
After the surgery is done and you are free to go home, the doctor will tell you when to go for the checkups and follow ups which ensure that you are in top-notch health and that you do not develop any complications that could harm you in the recovery process.
Doctors are likely to check the following conditions to determine whether you are recovering properly.
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Respiration and body temperature
They will teach you how to breath, move your legs, and cough, among other vital exercises. It is important that you know how to cough properly during recovery, or you may risk tearing or stressing a muscle that could lead to drainage or other complications. When you get home, take care to note down the changes that could be signs of complications. These signs may include muscle spasms, increase in pain, shortness of breath which indicates abnormal stress to the diaphragm and feelings of wanting to vomit.
What You Will Feel
The feelings vary from person to person but they all range between the following.
- Pain in the area of operation
- Weakened muscles
- Loose stool
- Appetite loss
- Mood swings
- Pain from gas in the stomach
- Fatigue and nausea are the most common
- Sleeplessness that borders on insomnia caused by pain
Managing the Pain
It is normal to feel pain at the incision site because numbness would indicate damaged nerves or other undesirable complications. For patients who undergo laparoscopic bariatric surgery, neck and shoulder pain is normal.
In the immediate time after the surgery, the pain will not allow you to go home and therefore, it is important that you remain at the hospital so they can monitor you for complications that may arise. It is at this time that you will be given pain medication. Normally, the medication works and you feel better, but if it doesn’t, you are advised to let the nurses know that you are uncomfortable. In most hospitals with a comprehensive pain control method, they have a scale of describing your pain and when you feel like it’s not normal, report it.
To make sure that you have an easy time with the pain, follow the steps below.
- Report pain to the doctors or nurses
- Anticipate the pain, it will make it easy for you to bear it
- Don’t wait for the pain to get out of hand
- Don’t overdo the amount of pain that you are experiencing and don’t be shy to tell them when the pain starts again.
Exercises that Are Done In Recovery
Circulation of blood is very important after this surgery and even though it might seem painful or difficult to move and change your position in the bed, you are advised to make sure that you move according to the nurses’ specifications.
Standing up and walking around with as minimal pain as possible is recommended. The following methods of exercising will help you get back on track
- Day 1: Sit up and let your feet hand from the side of the bed. This will help with circulation and prevent formation of blood clots and get the strength back into your legs. Despite the pain you may feel while doing this, it is important because you will feel less pain once you get used to it.
- Day 2: The therapist assigned to help you get back on your feet will help you take hourly breathing exercises. Walking 3-4 times a day is also important in getting you out of bed as fast as possible.
- First 24-48 hours: breathing properly and coughing are a challenge that you will have to deal with. An incentive spirometer is a device that is designed to help you breath properly. Proper breathing prevents pneumonia and it clears anything stuck in your throat or lungs.
Recovery from Home And Appointments For Follow Ups
Most patients recover after 21-35 days. During this period, you will be given a list of things to do while at home to ensure the transition into your new self is as smooth as possible. Follow ups are a must, and you should keep all appointments well.
Monitoring and medication will help you get back to normal activity after a maximum of 5 weeks. The follow ups range from person to person. Others go for checkups up to 3 months after the surgery while others take longer than that, mostly six months at most.
Activities to Do And Avoid
After the surgery, do not:
- Lift heavy loads
- Engage in pushing or pulling heavy objects
- Stand or sit for long periods of time
- Walk everyday at least four times
- Go to the follow up examinations
- The recommended excercise
- Stay hydrated
The recovery is fairly easy after the first two days in the hospital. If you follow the instructions issued by the doctors, you will have an easy job of getting back on your feet. Exercise regularly and make sure that you do not flout any rules issued. Report any complications or abnormalities and do not panic when something unusual happens. When you do all the things required, it is really easy to get back to work in 4-5 weeks.