Gastric bypass surgery offers a great way to lose weight and start living a healthier lifestyle. However, no surgery goes without a recovery period. Patients can expect to spend one to two days in the hospital after gastric bypass surgery.
During your stay in the hospital, you will be closely monitored. This means that nurses will check your vital signs, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiration. Your nurses will have you perform deep breathing and leg movement exercises. You might also practice getting in and out of bed, as well as take short walks around the hospital.
In the days following your surgery, you experience some side effects. These may include fatigue, nausea, sleeplessness, loose stools, and/or a loss of appetite. Your incision site may also cause some pain, but you will have access to painkillers to help make you more comfortable.
Even after you are out of the hospital, you may experience some short-term and/or long term side effects. However, very few patients will experience serious complications. One of the most common side effects is constipation, which usually will respond to drinking more fluids.
Another side effect specific to gastric bypass is called “dumping syndrome.” This occurs after consuming food and/or drinks with high sugar content after your surgery. The sugar will cause what you have ingested to rapidly move through your small intestine and can cause nausea, weakness, and sweating.
Gallstones are a side effect that sometimes occurs when a person has lost a lot of weight over a short period of time. Sometimes the gallstones are mostly harmless, and you may not even know you have them; in these cases, nothing needs to be done. In some patients, gallstones can sometimes cause symptoms such as nausea and abdominal pain; in these cases, your doctor may recommend removal of your gallbladder.
The gastric bypass diet you will be placed on is there to allow your stomach to heal without stretching it. This diet will also help accustom you to eating smaller amounts of food on account of your smaller stomach. You will also avoid gaining weight and certain side effects of this diet. Your diet will vary, as every person has a different situation.
You will start out with a liquid diet, which is important because it is very easy to become dehydrated after surgery. After this, you will go to a soft food diet, and then a solid food diet. During this time, you will also be taking supplements for certain vitamins.
You will want to avoid drinking water 30-minutes before or after a meal, as your stomach will not have enough room for both. You must also be sure to drink and eat slowly in order to avoid dumping syndrome. Choosing foods and drinks that are low in sugars and carbohydrates will help you lose weight and avoid dumping syndrome.
While recovering, it is important to do the exercises approved by your doctor. These exercises may include getting in and out of bed, taking short walks, or in-bed exercises. Once your doctor clears you, you will want to stick with the fitness plan that they, or a fitness instructor, have suggested. As your body grows accustomed to the workouts you are doing, it will become harder to lose calories. It is also harder to lose calories with a body that is in better shape. At this point, you would consult your doctor or fitness instructor to change around your workouts.
BASS Medical Group and Dr. Brian T. Chin offers some of the best bariatric care in northern California. Our team is ready to make you as comfortable as possible during your recovery from your surgery. If you are interested in gastric bypass surgery and want to know more, contact our expert bariatric surgeons to find out if this surgery is right for you.