After Biliopancreatic diversion surgery

After the surgery you will be taken from the operating theatre to a special recovery unit or high dependency unit. If any complications do arise (and these are uncommon) then the unit is fully capable of dealing with them. There will be highly trained staff there that will monitor your progress.

They will connect you to a variety of machines which will monitor your heart rate and respiration. They will check to see that you regain consciousness easily and will ensure that your condition is stable before moving you back to the ward.

If everything is satisfactory then you can be taken back to your ward (or room). Once you have arrived back a nurse will check the operation wounds as well as your blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. You will find that you have several surgical drains attached to you which are designed to remove any excess fluids.
In order to prevent any dehydration the nurse will insert an intravenous (IV) drip into your arm. He/she may also attach a catheter. This is designed to remove urine from the bladder and is collected in a small bag. There will also be tube in your mouth which runs down to your stomach. This will remove any excess air bubbles and fluids acquired during the procedure.

You will feel ‘woozy’ or ‘spaced out’ as a result of the after effects of the anaesthesia. And you will experience some pain due to a sore and swollen abdomen. The nurse will be able to give you painkillers to deal with this.

He/she will attach special pads to your legs: these connect to a special compression pump and are designed to stimulate your blood circulation in your legs. This will help to prevent the formation of any blood clots which can be potentially fatal. You may also be given another injection of Heparin to thin your blood.

You will be encouraged to get out of bed and move around as soon as is physically possible. Being immobile for a long period of time can increase the risk of blood clots plus chest infections as well. For the first 24 hours following surgery you can take small sips of water. This will the be followed by two weeks on liquids, two weeks on semi-solids and then a return to solid food.

For this type of procedure you can expect to have to stay in hospital from 2 to 4 days.

Your surgeon and his/her team will visit you and once they are satisfied with your progress they will agree to your discharge. You will be given a day and time for your first follow up session and any related information about your post-surgery recovery. Before you leave they will ensure that you are given an ample supply of painkillers and a contact number in case of emergency.

Once you are discharged you will need to have complete rest for the next few days or so. You will find that you will spend a great deal of time in bed or somewhere else that is equally comfortable. Once you are back at home this means sticking to the special diet (liquids, semi-solids etc) before moving on a pre-planned healthy diet. Recovery can take up to 3 weeks so give yourself plenty of time to do so and do not overexert yourself. As regards work you are looking at a couple of weeks before you are able to return to the workplace. This can vary from one person to another so only go back to work when you are fully able to.

You will have to return to the hospital in a week’s time to have any stitches removed (non-dissolvable).
If you are at college or university then the same applies here: only return to your normal activities when you feel well enough. This is major surgery which will have taken a lot out of you and it takes time to recover so do this gradually. It will be at least 8 weeks before your stomach and intestine is fully healed.

What also needs to happen is that you take the mandatory nutritional supplement. This is extremely important and must be taken on a daily basis. The surgery will result in a vast amount of weight loss, as much as 80% but this will only happen in conjunction with diet and exercise.

With exercise, start off very slowly. So, start with some gentle walking and gradually build this up. When you attend the aftercare sessions the staff there will be able to advise you further about exercise. They will discuss different types with you and which is the most suitable for you. This does not have to mean joining a gym or taking up a sport: it can be any activity as long as it gets you moving and increases your fitness levels.

Biliopancreatic diversions guide sections

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