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Care After Bariatric Surgery

Regardless of which bariatric procedure you choose, the changes you experience after weight loss surgery can be difficult. You will be a new you – and that “new you” will have to relearn a lot of things, like eating, exercising and taking vitamins. The team at Expert Surgical understand the importance of providing strong support and care after bariatric surgery.

Post-Operative Guidelines

Before your surgery, your doctor provides you with a handbook with details of what you need to know before and after surgery, including important guidelines for living with your changing stomach. At first, you’ll be on a 100 percent liquid diet transitioning to soft foods, and eventually to solids, over a period of several weeks. Once you are able to eat a normal diet, you will have to learn to chew your food thoroughly until it is practically liquid. Depending on your procedure, you may have to avoid juices, sodas, candy and other foods containing simple sugars. Also, you will avoid drinking beverages during meals to keep from washing down your food and ingesting too many calories. This will ensure you get the proper nutrients from your food.

Although the recovery time varies based on an individual’s health prior to bariatric surgery, as well as which procedure they have, most patients are able to go back to work and resume exercise within one to three weeks after surgery. Women should not become pregnant during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery.

Follow-up Visits

When you undergo bariatric surgery, one of the most important components is your commitment to follow-up. We want to work with you in reaching and maintaining your health goals, and regular follow-up visits are crucial to your care after bariatric surgery. During your visits, we will evaluate your commitment to the lifestyle changes required, assess your weight loss, and monitor your health.

All of Expert Surgical’s patients in the Dallas, Texas area are strongly encouraged to stick to the prescribed schedule for follow-up visits:

  • Five to seven days – initial postoperative evaluation
  • One month – physician evaluation; psychological and nutritional follow up as needed
  • Three months – diet assessment, assessment of compliance with vitamins and exercise; psychological follow up as needed
  • Six months – physician evaluation and blood work
  • Nine months – assessment of diet, compliance with vitamins and exercise
  • Twelve months – physician evaluation and yearly blood work
  • Yearly for life – physician evaluation and blood work

Missing office visits could compromise the outcomes of your weight loss surgery. Long-term follow-up care after bariatric surgery is mandatory for success.

Support Groups

Support groups are helpful for anyone undergoing a major life change, and weight loss surgery is no exception. The team at Expert Surgical offers access to nutritionists, fitness counselors, and mental health experts to help you on your weight loss journey.

Whether you are having weight loss surgery in Plano, TX or elsewhere, we encourage you to join online support groups and social communities as you go through your process of change. Friends and family may be less helpful than strangers who have personally experienced dramatic weight loss, so seek out support from those who have been there, and who can help guide the way to lifelong success.

After Gastric Bypass and Sleeve

After gastric bypass surgery or gastric sleeve procedure, you will most likely spend one to two days in the hospital and then be released to go home. Your abdomen will be swollen and sore for several days, and you may get medications to help deal with the pain. Most patients return to normal activity in two to five weeks.

Our staff will give you a handbook with dietary information before you have your surgery that you can take home to guide you during your recovery. Both the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures involve significant changes to your stomach, and it is crucial to your success that you stick to the dietary plan you are given, and take all vitamins and supplements that are recommended.

With the sleeve gastrectomy, the stomach is made smaller, but the digestive system is allowed to function normally. Consequently, gastric sleeve patients experience fewer nutritional deficiencies and can eat a wider range of foods than gastric bypass patients. Even so, you should avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, which are laden with empty calories. Just because you can eat it doesn’t mean you should. Likewise, because you will be consuming smaller portions, you probably will need to take vitamin supplements to ensure you get enough nutrients in your diet. Be sure to follow the nutritional plan in the handbook you receive, and to ask questions during your follow-up visits and at support group meetings if you are uncertain about the guidelines.

Gastric bypass patients have to take special care to meet their nutritional requirements and avoid serious health conditions related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including anemia and bariatric beriberi. In addition, after you have a gastric bypass, you will have to avoid juices, sodas, candies, and other foods and beverages with simple sugars, since these can cause “dumping syndrome” and result in nausea, diarrhea or vomiting.

The good news is that gastric bypass surgery generally promotes more rapid weight loss than other bariatric procedures, and has a long track record of success. In addition, numerous studies indicate that gastric bypass surgery can reduce or resolve numerous obesity-related health conditions, including diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Be sure to see your primary care physician regularly after your gastric bypass, since you may be able to go off several prescription medications after losing weight.

Finally, after gastric bypass surgery, you may receive behavior modification therapy to help you learn new habits to take care of your new body, or work with a mental health professional to address the emotional issues surrounding weight loss surgery. You will also be required to attend periodic follow-up visits in the long-term to ensure the success of your procedure. Remember, this is a huge change for you and your family, and you will need outside help to successfully transition from your old life to your new one.

If you have questions about life after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery in Dallas, Fort Worth, North Texas, Oklahoma, Abilene, Waco, Wichita Falls or states outside of Texas for the specialists at Expert Surgical, call our office at 214-396-1547 or email us at info@expertsurgical.com and one of our patient advocates will be happy to help you.  Our goal is to provide you with the information and quality medical care you need, to achieve the life that you deserve.

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