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Recovery from bariatric surgery - How does it look like?

Updated November 15, 2019
ClinicHunter Ltd

girl is catching her skin foldsBariatric surgery abroad has become a popular trend among people from Western Europe. For people who try to lose weight for months but cannot achieve it, a gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or gastric band is the last resort. In this article, you will find out what the bariatric surgery recovery process looks like. You need to remember that every person reacts, feels and undergoes this recovery differently, but there are some facts common to the recovery after all weight loss surgeries.

How long is bariatric surgery recovery?

The average duration of the recovery after bariatric surgery in Poland is 5 weeks. You will leave the hospital from 1 to 3 days after the surgery and after you return home, you will slowly start going back to normal life. Your doctor in cooperation with the psychologist and dietician will provide you with all the necessary information about the weight loss surgery recovery process. During the recovery time, patients lose weight rapidly. Hence, it is important to carefully follow all the instructions given by the doctor. It will guarantee that the weight is lost in a healthy way and the recovery time is quick. Of course, there are some factors that have a significant influence on the duration of the recovery time. They include:

  • the type of bariatric surgery
  • age of a patient
  • overall health condition
  • original weight of a patient
  • occurring of side effects or postoperative complications.

You may feel pain at the beginning, but it will ease off day by day. Painkillers should help if you cannot deal with it. Also, you need to remember that for the first days, you will find it difficult to do all daily activities such as tidying or shopping, so it would be best if there is someone with you at that time.

Learn more about pregnancy after bariatric surgery.

How to exercise to speed bariatric surgery recovery

It is advisable that from the 1st day after the weight loss surgery, patients implement physical activity. Even walking, standing or simply changing the positions while lying is beneficial (e.g. it fosters blood circulation). As a result, the healing time is enhanced and, there are no blood clots and the risk of complications is reduced. There are also many simple exercises that can be done from the very beginning. It is recommended to practice these exercises even before the surgery and repeat them at least once an hour after the procedure. In the first night after the procedure, you will sit up, dangle the feet and stand at the bedside. Of course, the nurse, as well as the physical therapist, would help you. The first time might be painful, but this exercise will be getting easier every day. You will shortly notice that the pain disappears and you have more strength. You will need to walk at least 3 times a day starting from the 1st day after the surgery. Also, you will perform leg and breathing exercises. Do not worry if you feel tired or faint very fast. You should just take a rest then and try again later. Your nurse will show you how to breathe deeply and expand your lungs. In general, proper breathing is as follows:

  • inhale as deeply as possible
  • hold your breath for two seconds
  • exhale thoroughly
  • repeat it 3 times

Also, the nurse will tell you how to cough and do leg exercises. Ale the exercises at the beginning is simple but may be quite tiring for you. But the most important thing is not to give up.

Bariatric surgery recovery tips

Change your eating habits after weight loss surgery

During your first weeks after surgery, you will have to eat according to your weight loss surgeon restrictions. After the surgery done by Doctor Krzysztof Kowalski, each patient has a personal diet plan, that is included in our all-inclusive package. For sure you must change diet habits. Your daily eating routine should be full of fresh vegetables (especially green ones), some fruits, chicken and turkey meat, and full-grain bread and pasta. For sure your diet should be poor in junk food, sweets, chocolates, and unhealthy fat. Each patient should be aware of carbohydrates and protein. Meeting with the dietician is an excellent idea, as the specialist can prepare the perfect diet plan for you, count how many proteins and carbohydrates you should intake daily.

Drink a lot of water after your weight loss surgery 

Many patients make a mistake, they drink coffee or tea and count it as glass or cup of water. That is the huge mistake. Each patient should drink at least 2 liters of water. In the beginning, patients report that they do not like the taste of water. We advise adding some lemon juice, ice, herbs like mint. It will make water tastier. Patients should avoid soda, juice, and other drinks with sugar added. Do you know that Coca-Cola can (330 ml) has 35g of sugar, which is about 7 teaspoons of sugar? Orange juice sounds healthy, but in 500 ml of juice, you may find 51g of sugar.  Pure water moisturizes body and skin. There are many benefits of drinking water. For our patients, we advise drinking the cup of water every 30 minutes. What is more, weight loss surgery  patients may find many applications which will remind you to drink water, you may count how much water you drank with it also.

Join a support group

girl showing throusers bigger than her tummy after weight loss surgeryOur patients say that taking the decision to perform surgery is the hardest part of weight loss surgery. Many of them suggest joining the support group. Our previous patient Gary comments: “Doctor explained to me everything perfect, but every day I had some issues, may I eat beans? may I eat red meat? That is why I joined a Facebook support group that helped me a lot! What is more, sometimes when I felt down I check such an amazing metamorphosis. It gave me power, better mood. Always when I had the bad day, sometimes I want to complain..” It does not joke, some of the support group participants become lifetime friends.

Follow your doctor’s requirements

Some doctor’s requirements are hard to put into practice. The most important requirements for weight loss surgery patients include quitting smoking, keeping before and after surgery diet, eating a high protein food, drinking lots of water (at least 2 liters daily), exercising. For some active patients, requirements are easy as they kept fit lifestyle. For others, it would be difficult. It is always necessary to have a positive attitude and believe that doctor’s advice will help you. That is true that being positive is beneficial, try to think only of positives, smile everyday and life would be better.

Stay positive after

Remember, the weight loss process is much easier if you believe you can do it if you believe you may reach your goals if you believe you may return to the healthy weight, the perfect frame of life and comfort. Many patients have some doubts, complaints while weight loss process and this is natural. Each patient should replace not only weight loss doubts,  but all life doubts into positive thoughts. Have you ever heard about self-talking? That is a very powerful tool. By repeating the same thoughts over and over, the mind actually comes to believe in them, and for our mind the thoughts become tue. It is clever, is not it? Exercise hard, eat healthily, keep diet and results will come faster then you can imagine.

When will I be able to return to work after bariatric surgery

belly before duodenal switch abroadEveryone realizes that it is of significant importance to have enough time to rest and relax after a weight loss surgery. However, it is extremely difficult to determine how long exactly is “enough time”. Consequently, patients find it hard to inform family, friends or employers about the recovery time they need. Patients have to organize childcare, help at home, time off work, etc, so they need to know how long they will need to rest at home and when would be the best time to return to everyday life. There are 2 main factors influencing the recovery time. They are the procedure type and individual predispositions. In general, the minimum time that patients spend at home is 2-3 weeks (but some patients would be able to return to work even after 6 weeks or more). Patients of open surgery (e.g. open gastric bypass) need more time to recover than patients of laparoscopic surgery. The main reason for that is that laparoscopic surgery requires a few tiny incisions while open surgery one big incision on the abdomen, so scarring after the former one is much less than after the latter one. Some patients of a lap band procedure are able to come back to work a week after the procedure, while sleeve gastrectomy patients need to rest for 2-3 weeks at least.

In addition, it is important what type of job you do. If you work physically and have to perform strenuous and demanding activities, you would need to recover for a longer time than a person working in the office. The good solution is negotiating your duties with the employer. Usually, the employers want the employee to return to work asap, so they would probably be flexible as for your duties (e.g. you may work part-time, limit the time spent at the desk, avoid lifting if you used to have it in your duties, etc). You should remember that your comfort and safety is the most important thing and if your employer respects it, you will be fully efficient very soon.

Everyone who considers a weight loss surgery needs to realize that the surgery itself does not guarantee weight loss. It just significantly facilitates and enhances this process. The proper recovery is equally important. Following the special weight loss surgery diet, performing physical activity and implementing all the instructions given by the doctor makes the recovery time short and weight loss is much easier. Although the recovery time is different for each patient, we hope that the bariatric surgery recovery tips we included above will be helpful. If you have any questions or need more information about the weight loss surgery abroad, do not hesitate to contact us! We will be glad to assist you in organizing, undergoing and recovering from your weight loss surgery.

 

Sources:

  1. www.guidedoc.com/how-long-is-bariatric-surgery-recovery-time
  2. www.ucsfhealth.org/education/recovering_from_bariatric_surgery
  3. www.ucsfhealth.org/education/recovering_from_bariatric_surgery/

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