After Surgery Instructions
DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS: Laparoscopic or Open Weight Loss Surgery
You have had weight loss surgery, now your recovery period begins. These guidelines may not answer all of your questions; for more information call our (main office) (412)741-8862 and a member of our clinical staff will help you.
After surgery, if you had the laparoscopic procedure you will have five or more small (1-2”) incisions; if you had an “open” surgery you will have a midline abdominal incision. A gauze bandage may be in place over your incision(s); these may be removed 48 hours after you return home. You may also have steri-strips which may be left in place for several days. You may take a shower or sponge-bath using soap and letting water run over the incision(s); gently pat the incision areas dry. Re-apply a gauze bandage if you want, but it is not necessary after the first few days.
You may experience some of the following normal post-operative events:
- A small amount of dark bloody (watery) drainage from your incision(s) for a day or two
- Some discomfort around the area of your incision(s) especially when you move or walk
- Some weakness or tiredness
- Some nausea and bloating
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you experience one or a combination of the following:
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Signs of infection:
Increased redness, drainage, swelling, warmth or pain around incisions
Fever and chills: A rise in your temperature above 101 degrees
- Signs of dehydration:
Decreased urine output, increased heart rate, facial flushing, increased anxiety
- Severe shoulder pain
- Chest pain or difficulty breathing
- Calf pain
This information is not intended to take the place of a visit with your doctor. If you have questions or are experiencing any problems call: (412) 741-8862.
It is normal to have some pain after weight loss surgery and your surgeon will order a prescription pain medication. Take it according to the directions; do not wait until the pain is severe.
Do not take any aspirin or ibuprofen (No Ecotrin, Bayer, Excedrin, Advil, Motrin, Naprosyn etc) before talking to your doctor. Your prescription pain medication may cause constipation so fluid intake is important. If constipation is persistent, call our main office for instructions: (412) 741-8862.
Activity after surgery
It is normal for your appetite, bowel movements, energy level and sleep patterns to change after this surgery.
These things should slowly return to normal as you gradually increase activity, resting as needed. Resume normal daily activity as tolerated; if you had laparoscopic surgery you have no restrictions. If you feel able, you may walk and climb stairs.
- Do not begin to drive until you are no longer taking prescription pain medication.
- Do not lift anything over 5 -10 pounds for at least one week and avoid strenuous activities (like pushing and pulling) that may strain incision areas.
- Do take a shower and wash your hair.
- Do get up to walk every hour and use your incentive spirometer
- Do deep breathing exercises to help prevent blood clots and pneumonia.
Your medications may need to be crushed or changed to an elixir (a liquid form) after surgery. You will receive instructions regarding whether to resume taking all of the medications you took before surgery; if you have a question about whether it is safe to crush your pills, call your primary care physician (PCP) or your pharmacist.
Your PCP will monitor your medical problems as you lose weight to decide if you should stop or change any medications (like blood pressure or diabetes medications)
- Do resume C-PAP or BI-PAP if you used it prior to surgery until you have another sleep test
- Do not take any over-the-counter medications without talking to our doctors or nurses.
- Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or some arthritis medications
- Do not take any capsules or pills larger than those pictured.
- Do not stop any medications unless instructed by your surgeon or PCP.
Our registered dietitian, nursing staff and the hospital dietitians will help you organize your post-operative nutrition regime. You will receive a written diet plan and instructions.
Please follow the guidelines for Phase I/ Clear Liquids until your diet is advanced by your surgeon.
For long term success
- follow your doctor’s directions
- stick to your nutrition plan
- gradually begin your exercise program
- stay focused on your goal: a healthy future
- keep all office appointments
You will need to make an appointment for your first post-operative office visit which will be scheduled for 7-10 days after surgery. To make that appointment, call our Sewickley office at 412-741-8862, Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. For the Gastric Bypass patient, follow up also includes: 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, and yearly thereafter for 5 years. For the Lap Band patient, after the initial post-op visit at 7-10 days, follow up for possible band adjustment begins at 1 month and continues monthly for approximately the first 6 months, then as needed. It is very important to keep all appointments with your surgeon.