Obesity carries serious health risks, and many people are turning to bariatric surgery as a solution when diet and exercise alone have failed. Of course, patients considering surgery want to know what bariatric surgery recovery is like.
At West Medical, we perform a range of bariatric procedures to treat obese patients, including the popular lap band surgery. We are happy to provide details about lap band recovery and bariatric recovery to women and men considering bariatric surgery as a treatment for obesity.
What Is Bariatric Recovery Like?
Depending on the procedure you have, full bariatric recovery can take anywhere from three days to six weeks. Most patients return to work in one or two weeks after surgery. Post-surgical discomfort can range from mild discomfort to pain that is easily managed with medication.
You may have low energy during your first week back at work. Follow your doctor’s instructions and take it easy if you need to.
It is important to start exercising right away. Start with short gentle walks and build up gradually over several weeks. Stick to low impact activities for the first month after surgery.
Gastric bypass produces more weight loss than any other bariatric surgery. It is also the most invasive bariatric procedure that has the longest downtime. Patients can expect to be tired, uncomfortable, and hungry for the first few weeks after the procedure.
After gastric bypass, your bariatric surgeon will recommend a clear liquid diet for the first week. Your diet will advance in stages, from liquids, to pureed foods, to soft foods, to solid foods. The transition from liquids to solids is similar after gastric sleeve surgery.
You will need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement for life after bariatric surgery. Yearly lab work can help your doctor pinpoint and correct any nutritional deficiencies. You may need higher doses of certain nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and iron.
What Is Lap Band Recovery Like?
After lap band surgery, patients usually stay in the hospital for up to one day, return to work in one or two weeks, and reach full recovery within six weeks. Post-surgical pain and discomfort are manageable, as the surgery is performed laparoscopically. Diet and exercise slowly transition back to normal after lap band surgery.
You can expect to feel sore and a disoriented when you first wake up after the procedure. Pain medications will be provided to manage any discomfort. Your doctor will have you up and walking as soon as possible after surgery to promote healing and to reduce the risk of blood clots.
The stomach will be sensitive after a lap band procedure or any bariatric surgery. You will start out on a liquid diet and slowly transition to solid foods.
Since you eat less after lap band surgery, you may feel tired until your body adjusts to having less food. Your doctor will start you on a vitamin and mineral regime to supply the nutrients you may be lacking.
Lap band weight loss treatment requires ongoing band adjustments after surgery. The tighter the band is, the less hungry you feel, and the fewer calories you consume. However, your doctor is careful not to overtighten the band, as this could lead to vomiting, reflux, or other problems, and create nutritional deficiencies.
The lap band is adjusted by adding or removing saline solution through a port under the skin of the abdomen. During the first year after surgery, it is not uncommon for patients to need 10 or more adjustments. Over time, as your weight stabilizes, you will need fewer adjustments, probably only two or three per year by the third year after your surgery.
Exercise is almost as important as diet after lap band surgery. Several hours of exercise per week spread out over three or four days can make a significant difference in your weight loss results. Your exercise routine should be aimed at improving endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Bariatric Recovery Tips
What is involved in bariatric recovery depends on the bariatric procedure performed. Although gastric bypass recovery can be challenging, most patients are convinced it was well worth it when they begin to experience significant weight loss after the procedure. The following tips can help make bariatric recovery easier:
- Walk: Start as soon as you can after surgery and walk as much as possible during your recovery. Start or end your day with a walk every day.
- Stick to your post-op diet: After bariatric surgery, it is important to follow our doctor’s instructions regarding diet – to the letter.
- Maintain a positive attitude: Find a way to motivate yourself and stay positive and active after bariatric surgery. Activity breeds positivity and keeps your focus on the task at hand.
Lap Band Recovery Tips
Recovery from lap band surgery is somewhat different than recovery from other types of bariatric surgery because it requires ongoing band adjustments. The following are tips for easier lap band recovery:
- Avoid sugar, fats, soda, and alcohol: They can upset your stomach after lap band surgery and only offer empty calories to counter your weight loss efforts.
- Get regular exercise: Reducing your food intake with the lap band is not enough for significant weight loss. Exercising regularly (with your doctor’s permission) can help speed your recovery and boost your weight loss results.
- Adjust your eating habits to your new, smaller stomach: Listen to your body after lap band surgery. It will tell you when you are full and when you should avoid a particular food or beverage. Only eat when you feel the need.
- Monitor your band for any problems: Be aware of your symptoms and make an appointment with your doctor if you experience reflux or pain or have trouble tolerating foods you could tolerate before. Minor slippage, which can occur after a period of weight loss, is usually easily corrected by removing fluid from the band.
- Keep all your follow-up appointments: Our knowledgeable bariatric surgeons in Los Angeles & OC will track your progress and ensure you are healing correctly. If your weight loss has reached a plateau, we can recommend changes to your diet and exercise routine to help keep you on track.
Contact Us Today!
We are ready to get you started on your road to health and beauty. Your first step is to contact us and schedule an initial consultation. During this time, we will establish everything we need to craft a custom treatment plan for you. Call today.
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