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.

Incision Care

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:

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you experience one or a combination of the following:

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.

Pain Control

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.

Medications

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)

Diet

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.

Follow-Up

For long term success

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.

PATIENT TESTIMONIAL

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When you asked for a picture of me doing something that I can do now that I could not do prior to my surgery, I thought about it long and hard for several days. I thought I can send you a pic of me on the treadmill, playing freeze tag with my kids, going down the slide or across the monkey bars, I could even send you a pic of me tying my shoes. I thought about taking a picture of my shadow, the one thing I use to hide from. I hated my shadowit looked like a huge marshmallow with arms BUT now I love my shadow; I jump at the chance to chase it. But, the biggest change in my life is one that is hard to capture in pictures.
Prior to my surgery I had so many medical issues like gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver, severe sleep apnea, Meniere's, arthritis throughout my spine, gull and kidney stones and I was just plain miserable. I remember lying awake at night fantasizing about what would make me happy againa big house, winning the lottery, a fancy car or maybe moving out of the state or even the countrysurely those things would make me happy. All the pain and discomfort and the sadness masked the fact that I had so much to be happy for because I have always had love in my life but I could not see it; I even think I stopped feeling it for a long while. I would smile at my loved ones and occasionally I would laugh too but it was more mechanical than anything else. It broke my heart the day my youngest son told his teacher that I never laugh. I thought he had to be wrong; surely I laugh but you know kidsthey are not easily fooled. I think Jayson knew that I wasn't feeling what you should feel when you are laughing or smiling.
Finally I made the decision to go with the gastric bypass surgery and I can tell you, with each day of recovery after the bypass I began to feel again; I was crawling out of a depression that I did not even know I was in. Before I knew it I was even laughing and smiling and I was truly feeling it. I am off the c-pap machine and all of the medicine I was on and the nights of fantasizing about what would make me happy were replaced by happy memories of the day's events and making plans for the following day. My happy memories are now of silly little moments like playing with the kids, dancing with my daughter, walking the dogs and laughing at random things my loved ones do. The plans I make for the future make me giddy; these aren't huge plans of travel or spending moneythese plans are bigger than that, they are of living my lifebaking cookies, coloring with my kids, playing freeze tag, and walking my dogs.
You see Cindy, the biggest thing this surgery did for me was to allow me to smile at my lifeand truly mean it. SoI am sending you a picture of me smiling.
 

- Lora



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