Despite modern minimally invasive techniques that minimize scarring, blood loss and pain, weight loss surgery is still major surgery and recovery must be taken very seriously. In order to ensure a successful procedure, reduce the incidence of complications and avoid infection, there are several tips to recovery that will serve you well:
- For the first couple weeks or so after surgery, you will be placed on a liquid diet. Following this diet is extremely important as it keeps you hydrated, allows your stomach pouch to heal properly and helps ward off infection. Drinking plenty of water should be continued throughout recovery and beyond.
- Try to avoid carbonated beverages after weight loss surgery. Carbonation can stretch the stomach pouch, causing serious discomfort and even complications. Carbonation can also irritate the stomach pouch and cause nausea and vomiting.
- Make sure you walk after surgery. As soon as your surgeon tells you to begin walking, do so. Walking increases the blood flow throughout the body, which helps healing, fights off infection and avoids a whole host of side effects associated with poor circulation. Listen to your body and walk as much as you can without getting over-tired.
- Follow your dietitian's plan. Weight loss surgery is simply a tool to lose weight and the responsibility to maintain a new and improved diet and exercise lifestyle is yours. Following the recommended diet, as prescribed by your surgeon or dietitian, and taking advantage of exercise programs will speed healing and maximize weight loss.
- Do not over-exert yourself. After surgery, your surgeon will tell you when you will be able to go back to work and resume normal physical activity. Before that time, lifting heavy items or over-exerting yourself can cause serious complications.
- Do not get discouraged. You'll most likely have very quick weight loss in the first few months after surgery, however the rate of weight loss will eventually slow and plateau.
- Attend support groups and take advantage of your surgeon’s aftercare program, as it will help you keep your diet and exercise plan on track.
With new minimally invasive techniques, surgery has become safer and recovery faster. It is still up to the patient, however, to make weight loss surgery a true success. Make sure you lean on your surgeon’s office and the friends you make at support groups. They will be able to help you navigate your recovery and aftercare program as successfully as possible.