Congratulations, you have decided on, or are at least contemplating, taking the huge step that is bariatric surgery! Bariatric surgery procedures can be grouped into three main categories: blocking (which block absorption of food), restrictive (which shrink the size of the stomach or take up space) and mixed procedures, with gastric bypass surgery being the most common. All have their own pros and cons, but the main goal is shared – losing excess body weight and consequently improving or eliminating medical conditions related to obesity. The period of recovery is a time of both physical and mental changes, and the best way to counter them is by knowing what to expect and being prepared to take it on.
As with any other surgery, patients also experience some discomfort and surgical pain afterward and need about two to five days in the hospital. Some usual symptoms include: fatigue, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting, weakness, flatulence, loose stools, and loss of appetite. This is to be expected in moderate degrees, and you will be monitored and taken care of by doctors and nurses. Some symptoms can persist for a couple of weeks, so don’t be surprised and make sure you provide enough recovery time for yourself after leaving the hospital. Wait a minimum of two weeks before going back to work, and if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with the medical staff.
You need to exercise before surgery
After a procedure like this, walking is crucial, in order to help promote circulation. The first night after surgery, however, tired and overwhelmed, you will be asked to do a tiny bit of exercise, in order to help prevent blood clots and to speed up your recovery: sit up on your bed (a nurse will help you), dangle your feet, and then slowly stand up and just stand at your bedside. The next day you will be asked to walk, and although it will be difficult, it’s very important so you need to try your best. Nurses will also show you exercises to cough and breathe deeply. This helps eliminate anesthesia and expel any secretions that may be in your throat and lungs, prevents pneumonia, and increases circulation.
You will need to continue these types of exercises once you start your recovery at home also. The first month after surgery you need to be careful not to do anything too strenuous and lift heavy things because there is a risk of developing a hernia. As you can see, it will take a while until you are strong enough and ready to hit the gym, so just take it slow, go for light walks very often, and be patient.
Changes that come with weight loss
The most weight is lost in the first ten months after the procedure. You will feel amazed to see the results, and it will take getting used to the experience of being so much lighter. But, the major symptom of significant weight loss in the first months after surgery is hair thinning and the skin on your face and neck especially losing vibrancy and sagging. This is because the change is so rapid and your face slims down significantly also, but having some fat under the skin is what hides the appearance of fine lines - that’s why many bariatric surgery patients opt for cosmetic surgery. If you are contemplating doing a facelift or neck lift, it helps to first consult with professionals from a secure plastic surgery clinic, such as the professionals from Plastic Surgery Sydney, to help you make the right choice and discuss modifying the surgery to your specific needs. As for the hair thinning, it is a temporary effect of low calorie and protein intake and will resolve itself once your weight and nutrition stabilize. You will be prescribed daily doses of multivitamins and this will be essential to you. Also, expect to feel chilly more often, as this is a result of thyroid hormone levels decreasing when humans lose weight.
New diet plans
You will be prescribed a diet after the surgery, and in the beginning, you will be eating only liquid foods, to give your body time to adjust and ensure your stomach doesn’t get damaged. Make sure you follow this prescribed diet very closely. Also, dehydration easily occurs after surgery and it can be very dangerous, so get a refillable water bottle and sip all day until you have at least 1.5 liters of fluid intake. Avoid caffeine and other diuretics, and if you feel nauseated and not up for drinking anything, suck on ice chips to stay hydrated.
Never skip check-ups at your doctor’s during and after recovery, as these will be very important not just to monitor your body but also to ask questions relating to the changes you’re experiencing and adjusting your diet plan regularly. Give yourself time to get comfortable with your new body and daily habits. Many people equate weight loss with happiness, but it can actually be an emotionally burdening process, so it is recommended to look for a bariatric surgery support group. Take it easy, follow instructions so you don’t get back to old habits, and most important of all – be proud of yourself for being brave and taking a major step toward change!