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Recovery & Aftercare

Whether you have gastric bypass, gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy, bariatric surgery is one step in what will be your lifelong weight-loss journey. What happens after surgery determines how successful weight loss is for each person. It’s critical that you make the nutritional and lifestyle changes recommended by your medical providers at Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center. One of the reasons our program is successful is because we offer all our patients support and counseling before and after surgery.


Patients need to follow nutrition and physical activity instructions in the weeks after surgery. Patients usually begin a liquid diet that progresses to soft or pureed foods and eventually to regular food. It’s paramount for patients to take daily supplements and drink at least 64 ounces of fluids every day. This helps prevent dehydration, constipation and kidney stones.


Exercise is also key to losing weight and keeping it off for good. National guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. Everyone’s fitness level is different and will change as they lose weight. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are all excellent ways to burn calories. The majority of our patients begin walking while they are still in the hospital after their weight loss surgery. More intense exercises such as lifting weights or doing sit-ups come later after you have been cleared by your doctor.

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Here are some frequently asked questions people have about weight loss surgery:


What should I bring with me to the hospital?


Basic toiletries (comb, toothbrush, etc.) and clothing may be provided by the hospital, but most people prefer to bring their own. Choose clothes for your stay that are easy to put on and take off. Bring slippers that are easy to slip on and off. You’ll be walking within hours of your surgery and will walk each day afterward. Because of your incision, your clothes may become stained by blood or other body fluids.Other ideas:

  • Reading and writing materials
  • Crossword and other puzzles
  • Personal toiletries
  • Bathrobe


How long do I have to stay in the hospital?


As long as it takes to be self-sufficient. Although it can vary, the hospital stay (including the day of surgery) can be 1-2 days for a laparoscopic gastric bypass, and 5-7 days for an open gastric bypass.


What is done to minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism or DVT/PE?


Because a DVT originates on the operating table, therapy begins before a patient goes to the operating room. Generally, patients are treated with sequential leg compression stockings and given a blood thinner prior to surgery. Both of these therapies continue throughout your hospitalization. The third major preventive measure involves getting the patient moving and out of bed as soon as possible after the operation to restore normal blood flow in the legs.


Will I get a copy of suggested eating patterns and food choices after surgery?


Surgeons and dietitians provide patients with materials that clearly outline their expectations regarding diet and compliance to guidelines for the best outcome based on your surgical procedure. After surgery, health and weight loss are highly dependent on patient compliance with these guidelines. You must do your part by restricting high-calorie foods, by avoiding sugar, snacks and fats, and by strictly following the guidelines set by your dietitian.


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Some patients require these supplements, but your surgeon can determine your need for these.


Why do I need to drink so much water?


When you are losing weight, there are many waste products to eliminate, mostly in the urine. Some of these substances tend to form crystals, which can cause kidney stones. A high water intake protects you and helps your body to rid itself of waste products efficiently, promoting better weight loss. Water also fills your stomach and helps to prolong and intensify your sense of satisfaction with food. If you feel a desire to eat between meals, it may be because you are not drinking enough water between your meals.


What about wound infections? Can they occur?


Individuals with diabetes and other associated diseases related to severe obesity often have a higher rate of wound infections. Laparoscopic access allows surgeons to perform gastric bypass using much smaller incisions, typically around 1 inch in length. Because our surgeons most often use laparoscopic access, the rate of wound infection is significantly reduced.


What are small bowel obstructions? Do they form after this surgery?


Small bowel obstructions can occur after any abdominal surgical procedure. Intestinal obstruction involves a partial or complete blockage of the bowel that results in the failure of the intestinal contents to pass through. Again, because our surgeons perform most gastric bypass surgeries using laparoscopic procedures, the risk of a small bowel obstruction is greatly reduced.


What is sleep apnea (SA)?


It is the interruption of the normal sleep pattern associated with repeated delays in breathing. Sleep apnea often shows rapid improvement after surgery. In most patients, there is a complete resolution of symptoms by six months following surgery.


Is there a cure or treatment for Candida?
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There are several effective medications now available for treating the overgrowth of Candida.

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