Life After Surgery

What do I need to do to be successful after surgery?

The key guidelines for post-surgery success are straightforward and easy to adhere to:

1. Follow Dietary Guidelines: Immediately after surgery, your doctor will provide specific dietary guidelines. These may begin with liquid diets, progress to semi-solid foods, and eventually allow for the inclusion of solid foods once the new stomach pouch has adequately healed. Adhering to these guidelines is crucial for a successful outcome.

2. Meal Habits: When transitioning to solid foods, aim for 2-3 meals per day, with a focus on protein-rich sources like lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish). Protein should constitute at least half of each meal. Cook foods without added fats, season to taste, and avoid sauces, gravies, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and junk foods.

3. Avoid Snacking: Refrain from eating between meals, and avoid flavored beverages, including diet soda, between meals.

4. Hydration: Drink 2-3 quarts or more of water each day. Consume water slowly, 1-2 mouthfuls at a time, considering the restrictive effect of the surgery.

5. Regular Exercise: Engage in aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes every day, such as brisk walking, biking, or stair climbing. Include weight/resistance exercise 3-4 days per week, as guided by your doctor.

The Importance of Exercise:
Weight loss following surgery occurs as a result of reduced calorie intake. Regular exercise is crucial to signal your body to utilize fat reserves instead of muscle. Without daily exercise, your body may consume unused muscle, leading to muscle mass and strength loss.

Exercise After Weight Loss Surgery:
Exercise commences on the day of surgery with walking, gradually increasing each day. Patients are typically released from restrictions about two weeks post-surgery, with the type of exercise based on individual conditions and preferences.

Pregnancy After Surgery:
It’s advisable to wait at least one year after surgery before planning a pregnancy. Consult with your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.

Problems After Previous Surgery:
If experiencing issues after a previous weight loss surgery, contact your original surgeon for recommendations based on your medical history.

Function of the Lower Stomach:
In some procedures, the lower stomach remains in place with intact blood supply, contributing to hormone balance, Vitamin B12 absorption, and intestinal motility.

Size of the Stomach Pouch:
The size of the stomach pouch varies by surgical procedure. In the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, it starts at one ounce and may expand over time, resulting in a meal capacity of 3-7 ounces.

Staples in the Abdomen:
Staples used in surgery are tiny, composed of inert materials (titanium or stainless steel). They are non-magnetic and won’t affect MRI results or trigger airport metal detectors.

Appetite After Surgery:
It’s normal not to have an appetite for the first month or two post-surgery. Appetite typically returns gradually, and excessive hunger can be managed by avoiding starches and not drinking liquids with meals.

Medication After Surgery:
Most medications can be continued after surgery, but diuretics and NSAIDs should be used with caution and in consultation with your surgeon.

Hernia Probability:
Approximately 20% of patients may develop a hernia after surgery, often necessitating repair with a reinforcing mesh.

Phlebitis Prevention:
While not entirely preventable, measures like early ambulation, special stockings, blood thinners, and pulsatile boots help mitigate the risk of phlebitis.

Hair Loss Prevention:
Consistent protein intake, daily zinc supplements, and adequate fluid intake can help prevent post-surgery hair loss.

Candida Syndrome:
This yeast overgrowth syndrome may occur post-surgery due to antibiotics, stress, reduced immune response, or diabetes. Effective medications are available for treatment.

Sleep Apnea Improvement:
Sleep apnea often improves rapidly after surgery, with symptoms usually resolving completely within six months.