Life After Surgery

The most serious life-threatening complication that can occur after surgery in a morbidly obese individual is developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot, which can lead to a pulmonary embolism (PE, a sudden blockage in a lung artery). A clot can form in the leg and travel to the lung, resulting in death. During surgery, you will be prepped with special compression devices on your feet and lower legs that will help with circulation so that blood is not as likely to pool in your extremities. These compression devices will remain on your feet and legs after surgery and you will be required to keep them on during your hospital stay any time you are not up and walking. Because keeping your circulation moving is so important after surgery, you will be required to get up and walk shortly after surgery. In addition, you’ll be required to walk every hour during waking hours while in the hospital and at home, so that your risk of developing a blood clot is reduced. While it will be uncomfortable to push yourself to walk at first, it is vitally important to minimizing your risk of this severe complication. Signs and symptoms of a PE include unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain, anxiety, and coughing. Signs and symptoms of a DVT include swelling in the leg, pain or tenderness in the leg, increased warmth in the area of the leg, and red or discolored skin on the affected leg. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms while in the hospital, notify your nurse immediately. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms while at home, you should call us on 9821350957 and seek immediate medical attention. We take this risk extremely seriously and expect you to walk regularly for many months after surgery to reduce your risk of this complication.

Most people return to work within 7 to 14 days after weight loss surgery.

Your surgeon will determine when it is okay for you to return to your normal activities, but most people return to their normal activities within 14 days to six weeks after surgery. You will not be permitted to lift anything over 10 pounds for the first four to six weeks after surgery.

Exercise is an important part of your recovery. Patients begin walking the day of their procedure – they walk a little more the next day, a little more the day after that, and so on. As you get stronger, you should aim to reach 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.

At first, your doctor may recommend taking pills in liquid or crushed form. After the first four weeks, most pills and capsules should easily pass through the stomach pouch. With a gastric bypass, you should not take extended release medications after your procedure. It is important that you work with your primary care physician to adjust your medications after weight loss surgery, including medications for diabetes, as many patients are able to leave the hospital on very little to no diabetes medications. In addition, hypertension medication will need to be adjusted frequently with rapid weight loss.

In general, diuretics and some over-the-counter medications should be avoided. Some over-the-counter medications can cause ulcers in the small stomach and should be avoided (ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin). Always consult with your bariatric surgeon about the medications you are taking or wish to begin taking.

You may resume sexual activity when you feel that you are able to do so.

No. Smoking increases the potential for lung problems before surgery, stalls the healing process, promotes infection and interferes with the blood flow to tissues that are healing. In addition, smoking significantly increases your chances for developing ulcers.

No however, if you are concerned about your weight loss, talk with your bariatric surgeon or our dietitian.

Some patients experience thinning of the hair, typically in the first four to eight months after surgery. In most cases, it comes back naturally. You can help prevent hair loss by getting enough protein with meals and by drinking sufficient fluids during the day. You should consume 80 grams of protein daily, and 64 oz. of non-carbonated, sugar-free, decaffeinated liquids daily.

You should wait to start driving until your doctor clears you. Usually you’ll be able to drive again one week after surgery. You may not drive as long as you are on prescription pain medication.

Many of our patients have weight loss surgery because of infertility issues. Because estrogen is released in fat cells, losing excess weight allows many women to become fertile and achieve pregnancy. To ensure you maximize your weight loss and that you have a healthy pregnancy, we want you to wait at least 12 to 18 months after weight loss surgery before trying to conceive. During this time period, we strongly recommend that you use two forms of birth control to avoid becoming pregnant. Weight-loss during pregnancy can be dangerous to the health of your developing baby. Once your bariatric surgeon has agreed that you are healthy enough to carry a pregnancy to term and that your weight loss has stabilized, you may begin trying to conceive. If you are an adjustable gastric band patient, if you become pregnant, saline will be removed from your band; the band will be left in place and can be re-inflated via the port after delivery.

Every person’s body is different. Skin elasticity is based on many factors including genetics, age, whether or not you have carried a pregnancy (or multiple pregnancies), whether or not you have ever smoked, and your overall general level of health. As a general rule, plastic surgery should not be considered for at least 18 months after your weight loss surgery so that you give your body time to settle in to its new shape and you maximize your weight loss. To maximize the benefits of plastic surgery, we recommend that you be within ten pounds of your ideal body weight and your weight has stabilized for at least six months.