The Obesity Surgery Center appreciates all of the effort you have made to cooperate with the program while in the hospital. Your recovery program also requires your further cooperation at home. The following instructions are very important to having a successful recovery. Read them over several times. If something is not clear, please ask for assistance.
You have been instructed by the dietitian and myself. Please adhere strictly to the program. Drink only low or no calorie liquids between meals. You may start your multivitamin/mineral, calcium, and iron (menstruating women only) supplements as soon as you get home from the hospital. Remember, eat slowly and do not drink any liquids 30 minutes before or 30 to 45 minutes after a meal. Meals should last no longer than 30 to 45 minutes. Eat protein at every meal and drink your protein supplement between meals. Click here to read bariatric surgery patient reviews of various protein supplements.
- Care of your Incision
Your incision is still freshly healing. In order to keep your clothing from irritating it, please keep it lightly dressed as in the hospital until the staples are removed. If the staples were removed and steri strips applied, do not get them wet for about a week.
Usually the staples are removed after one to two weeks in order to prevent the skin from separating from the pull of the heavy abdominal wall. At the most, they are a minor discomfort to remove.
If you are experiencing some discharge from your incision (which might appear similar to vegetable oil), it is most often liquefied fat, and is usually quite harmless. Dress the area with a gauze dressing held with tape. Give the office a phone call to make an appointment for the next available time. However, if the area becomes very red or painful, or if you have a fever, please call me as soon as possible for further instruction.
Unless otherwise instructed, you may begin to shower 48 to 72 hours after surgery. When you shower, do not let the full force of water fall on your incision line. If you have steri strips, cover them with a piece of plastic. When drying yourself, do not rub the incision line. Pat the area dry.
It might be safer not to drive for two weeks after your discharge from the hospital. Following your surgery, you may be somewhat more accident prone. In an emergency, you may drive short distances.
- Legs Elevated
Keep pumping your feet and keep them elevated when sitting as instructed for one month after discharge. Also, remember not to cross your legs during this time.
- Breathing Exercises
The plastic breathing apparatus is yours. Take it home and use it faithfully for the next few weeks just as you have been instructed. Ten good ?puffs? every hour or two is optimal. Your lungs, like the rest of you, are still recovering from the effects of the anesthesia and surgery.
- Being Driven
For the next two weeks or so, including your trip home, you may travel by car, airplane, or other types of public transportation. During this time, remember to keep your legs elevated as well as possible and pump your feet as you have been instructed. If feasible, take breaks to stop and walk. Try to get an aisle seat on an airplane or bus so you can get up and walk up and down the aisle a few times on trips over an hour.
- Lifting and Straining
Your incision has been securely closed. However, an incision takes a long time to heal and during this time if too much pressure is put on it, the incision can weaken and develop a hernia. Therefore, please do not lift more than 15 pounds during the next 6 weeks or 25 pounds for the next 3 months. Do not push or pull anything with more pounds of force than the above.
- Abdominal Binder
This has been supplied for comfort. Wear it when it makes you more comfortable or when you may be possibly straining more than usual. As you lose weight, you will need to take it in on the sides. Pleat it on the outside so that it doesn?t rub on your skin. Wearing a camisole or t-shirt underneath it may make it more comfortable to wear. You may wish to buy another binder at a surgical supply store.
When you get home from the hospital, you may start your walking program. Start with 5 to 10 minutes the first week, then add 3 minutes each week until you work up to 30 minutes 3 to 5 times per week. You should be able to walk and talk. If you are huffing and puffing, slow down. If you experience sudden lightheadedness, cold sweat, or fainting, stop walking and call your doctor. Exercise will help tone the body, strengthen your heart and lungs, and preserve muscle mass as you are losing weight. Remember to warm up before, and cool down and stretch after each exercise session. Drink water before, during, and after exercising. After 3 months, you may want to consider adding weight training to your new habit of exercise.
No sex for two weeks after discharge from the hospital. After resuming sexual relations, make sure there is no forceful straining of your abdominal muscles as it may result in complications such as a hernia.
- Climbing Stairs
If you need to climb stairs, try to use them no more than 2 or 3 times per day for the next month. When you do use them, step up with one foot, then bring the other foot next to that foot. Use this pattern going up and down the stairs.
- Office Visits
Unless otherwise instructed, you will need to call the office for an appointment after you get home from the hospital. You are also responsible and expected to make your own office appointments every two weeks for the first 2 to 3 months, and at 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 1 ½ years and every year thereafter. You have agreed to close follow-up and it is expected you will keep your word. Herndon office 703-956-6743.
- Problems that may Arise
Call any of the above numbers as soon as possible if you have significant nausea, vomiting, pain, depression, fever, or other problems that may affect your recovery. Keep calling and be persistent until you get a response. Your needs are more important than the time of the day or night. Please do not wait 2 or 3 days to let whatever is wrong go away. If you have had to be seen elsewhere on an emergency basis, please call right away or have the persons caring for you call as soon as possible. Your pouch requires specialized attention.
You must be on multivitamin/minerals, calcium, and B12 supplements for life. Try Centrum Kids Complete chewable multivitamin/mineral supplement. Take 2 a day. If they cause some indigestion, take them with meals. There are also liquid multivitamin/mineral supplements. Ask the dietitian for more details. Take 1500 mg of calcium citrate or calcium citrate malate daily. Do not take calcium with your multivitamin/mineral or iron supplement as calcium can block iron absorption. Menstruating women should take ferrous fumerate, gluconate, or polysaccharide iron, 65 mg elemental daily. Vitamin B12 can be taken sublingually (dissolved under the tongue) 500 mcg daily, nasal gel, or by injection intramuscularly. If you have problems meeting any of these requirements, please discuss them at your next office visit.Remember, all medications must be taken crushed, chewed, or in a liquid form.DO NOT TAKE WHOLE PILLS OR CAPSULES as they may stick in the outlet from your pouch. Time released medication cannot be crushed and must be changed prior to surgery. After the surgery, do not use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications as they may increase your risk of ulcers or bleeding. If you have any questions about a medication you are taking, ask me or your primary care physician.
- Support Group
We encourage you to attend our monthly support group meeting called the “Staple Club” The meetings are open, so feel free to bring your family members and friends and anyone wanting more information about gastric bypass surgery. This is a great place to make new friends and compare notes with others going through the same experience.