After Gastric bypass surgery...what next?

You will be transferred from the operating theatre to a high dependency unit where medical staff can observe your progress. This will mean that you are connected to several machines which will monitor your breathing, heart rate etc. This is until you have fully regained consciousness after the anaesthetic.

If complications do arise then these highly trained staff are full capable of dealing with any post-surgery problems.

Once the staff are satisfied that your condition is stable they will move you back to your room (or ward). A nurse will check your blood pressure, heart rate and will examine your surgical wound.

You will notice that you have several tubes running through various parts of your body. These include an intravenous (IV) tube inserted into your arm which will ensure that you have a steady supply of fluid into your body to prevent dehydration. There will be a slim tube running from your mouth down to your stomach which will draw off any excess fluid or air. And, you will have a catheter fitted which is designed to control urine output from the bladder. There may also be a small tube running from the surgical incision to draw off any excess fluid. This may sound frightening but these will only stay in place until you are able to get up and move around. Once you can go to the bathroom or are able to take in liquids then they will be removed.

You will be encouraged to get up and move around as soon as you can. This is to prevent the risk of blood clots forming in the legs which can happen as a result of inactivity. You will still receive injections of Heparin to thin your blood.

You will also be able to drink fluids in the form of a glass of water although you will only be able to take small sips to start with. Once you are used to this then on the following day you can start on your two week liquid diet. This means thin soups and purees. Sweet or sugary liquids are not recommended due to the risk of ‘dumping syndrome’.

You will remain in hospital for at least a couple of days. Any stitches that you have had will be removed before you are discharged. You will be given painkillers and advice on your recovery which includes looking after your surgical wound.

On the day of your discharge you will be given a list of instructions on what to do following your surgery. This includes rest and recovery, diet, exercise (although very gently to start with) and a contact phone number for the hospital. If anything does go wrong when you are at home then you will need to contact the hospital (and your surgeon) immediately.

And, this is very important, you will be given an appointment for your first aftercare session.

Make sure that you have someone to drive you home who will also be able to stay and keep an eye on you.

Once you are back home after the surgery you will need time to recover from the anaesthetic and the surgery itself. You will find that your stomach is swollen and sore although this is entirely normal. This is as a result of the procedure and you will have been given painkillers to deal with this. If however, you have any extreme or severe pain then contact your surgeon immediately.

Remember to take things easy: bending down or leaning over to pick up something will be painful. You will find that you have some pain and discomfort and that you will feel tired as well.

Have someone there who can help around the house and do your everyday jobs. Plus they can provide emotional and moral support as well!

As soon as you are able you can start to move around. Be careful of your surgical wound but if you can, start off with some gentle walking. Later on you will be able to undertake some more strenuous exercise although you do not want to overdo things.

If you have had a surgical drain fitted then you will have to return to hospital for this to be removed. This also applies to any stitches that may have been left in.

Stick to your prescribed diet and ensure that you take your daily nutritional supplement. Make sure that you take your medication and follow the instructions carefully as regards the dosages. As regards your diet, make sure that you cut your food up into small pieces and remember to chew it slowly, having short breaks between each mouthful. Try to avoid any high fat or sugary foods and keep alcohol to a minimum. Avoid drinking liquids at the same time as you eat as these will cause you to feel bloated very quickly and, can result in nausea and vomiting.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Guide sections

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