Recovery after Weight Loss Surgery

By: Dr. David Provost 1

The surgery is over. Two hours have passed since the gas came on, since they put you under and your weight loss surgery procedure began. Now the wounds are sewn shut, the bandages in place – and you awaken in an ordinary hospital room. Recovery time has begun.
And naturally, you want it to take place as quickly as possible. Yes, bariatric surgery is major surgery, but there’s no reason not to try reducing recovery time after weight loss surgery as much as a safety allows. It turns out that there’s a method to speeding healing after weight loss surgery, and it begins in the recovery room.
You may feel some discomfort. Pain meds will help, but surgery is traumatic – someone’s just cut holes in you, after all! – and with trauma comes a certain unavoidable amount of pain. It’s likely, however, that you’re tough enough to endure whatever discomfort you have to; after all, if you weren’t tough, you’d likely never have made it this far. Acknowledge the pain, yes, listen to what it’s telling you – but don’t let it rule you. You have more important business.
Moving after Surgery
The first order of which is mobility. You may be surprised at the level of mobility you’re allowed – most nurses will insist that you sit up in a chair or walk a bit (with help, of course) just a few hours after surgery. You may worry about ripping open your wounds, but don’t; they’re stitched tight, and, barring a sudden urge for power lifting or shot put, you’re not likely to want to do the sort of things you’d have to do in order to reopen them.
“The reason we want patients up and moving after weight loss surgery is to prevent a serious complication, like a blod clot,” explains Dr. David Provost, a bariatric surgeon in Denton, Texas. If you lie about in bed immediately after surgery any more than absolutely necessary, you’re at risk of developing blood clots near your wounds -- clots that can be washed into the bloodstream and cause strokes or heart attacks. So it’s up you go, with your IV bottle at your side.
Forming New Eating Habits
Next comes eating. You have to eat, although the idea may be unappealing. Your doctor and care team will draw up a diet for you to follow while in the hospital. Follow it. Sure, you may not be hungry, and hospital food seldom tempts the palate, but your body needs the nutrition and water food provides – so eat. After a few days, your doctor will issue you a set of dietary instructions, and discharge you.
From then on it it’s up to you to make sure you’re eating right. Follow the dietary instructions and you can’t go wrong. If you’re on medication for other diseases (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) follow your doctor’s instructions about doses and schedules to the letter.
Joining a Support Network
One of the most important things you can do to speed healing after weight loss surgery is to join and participate in a weight loss surgery support group. These groups, often led by a registered dietitian, provide you with the information, advice, and fellowship you’ll need to make a successful, permanent transition to good health.
“Participating in regular support group meetings is probably one of the most important things a patient can do to promote their weight loss and stay on track toward success,” says Dr. Provost, who has more than 20 years’ experience in bariatric surgery. Dr. Provost sees patients desiring weight loss surgery in Lewisville, Frisco, Plano, and other cities in the Dallas Metroplex, and holds twice-monthly support group meetings at his practice to ensure that his patients have a local resource they can turn to for guidance and encouragement. Regardless of where you are located, be sure to ask
your surgeon’s care team to set you up with a group in your area – get involved!
Lastly, at about four weeks after your surgery, you’ll visit a clinical dietician to assess your nutritional state and overall health. Unless you’ve had problems related to eating or digesting food, odds are that he or she will give you a clean bill of health – and you’re ready to start the daily routine of your new life.

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Dr. David Provost is one of the nation’s most respected bariatric surgeons and has a practice in Denton, Texas. He sees patients desiring weight loss surgery in Frisco, Plano, Dallas, and throughout North Texas, and offers his patients expert guidance on minimizing their recovery time post-op.

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