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What to Expect

Congratulations on deciding to take the first steps to a better, healthier you with bariatric surgery in Houston through Bariatric Care Centers. We understand your many questions and concerns about your upcoming surgery. It is our goal to provide you information about what you can normally expect prior to, on the day of, and post-surgery.

Tips to Prepare for Your Surgery

Take this time to make a list of any questions or concerns you have about your upcoming surgery. You may have several physician visits to ensure conditions are still favorable for surgery. During these visits, you will want to get answers to any questions you still have.

Some patients can require several months of pre-surgery consultations as they start making changes to their current diet and exercise habits. Furthermore, some insurance providers do require this “waiting” period to ensure patients are willing to make the necessary changes in order for the insurance company to help pay for their bariatric surgery and post-surgical care and treatment.

Prior to your surgery, there will be many things you will want to do ahead of time to make your post-surgery recovery easier, as follows:

  1. Ask a friend or family member to be available to help with your children and post-surgery care. While you are not normally confined to sitting or the bed, you can experience some tenderness and pain post-surgery, so having someone who can help lift heavier items and provide assistance will be beneficial.
  2. Get rid of foods you will not be able to eat. Aside from keeping food to feed your family, you want to clean out your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. Consider donating the food to a local food pantry.
  3. Go grocery shopping and restock. There will be specific foods you will be able to eat during your recovery process. Get a list from your bariatric surgeon or physician ahead of time. This way, you can make sure to have some food available after returning home from the hospital.
  4. Try to get a decent night’s rest. The night before your surgery, make sure to get plenty of sleep. We understand you can feel anxious, excited, and nervous about the surgery, but it is still important to get some rest.
  5. Follow any physician’s orders. Your doctor may require you to discontinue eating and drinking at a set time prior to your surgery. Make sure to adhere to this, as well as any other special pre-surgery instructions you have been provided, Such as medications adjustments, hydration.

Day of Surgery

The surgical process used will depend upon the type of bariatric procedure you are having performed. Two common surgical procedures are sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery in Houston. Your physician will discuss in greater detail what each of these procedures involves and which one is best for your particular circumstances.

On the day of the surgery, expect to stay at the hospital for an average of one to two nights. Your bariatric surgeon will let you know when you will be able to go home after the surgery, pack an overnight bag with essential items you will need or want.

In some cases, you may need to stay in the hospital a few days post-surgery. Your bariatric doctor will discuss this with you ahead of time, so you can make any arrangements, like finding someone to care for your children until you return home and arranging the time off with your employer.

Most of the time weight loss surgery will be performed laparoscopically, which means the surgery is less invasive than “open” surgeries. “Open” surgeries are where the surgeon must make a full incision to perform the procedure. In addition, laparoscopic surgeries have shorter recovery times, so you can expect to be back on your feet much sooner. it is very important to get you up and walking few hours after surgery in most cases, your doctor and nurses in the hospital will further explain.

After the surgery, you will wake up and probably feel somewhat groggy or a little disoriented. This is normal from the anesthesia used during the surgical procedure. Many patients do not really notice any significant pain because they are also on some pain relief medication.

Immediately following the surgery and after waking, do not expect to eat or drink. Your IV will keep you hydrated until you can drink water. in most cases you could be cleared by your doctor to start clear liquids intake after 8-24 hours, some surgeons will obtain a special X-ray of your stomach prior to allowing oral intake of liquids.

Do not be surprised if the nurse asks you to get up and walk around as soon as you are awake enough. Early walking, even if there is some discomfort, helps promote and stimulate the healing process. Plus, it reduces the risk of blood clots, and improve lungs and bowels functions.

Post-Surgery Care and Treatment

Each day will be a new learning experience as you adapt to a new diet and exercise, and you change your prior habits. There can be a mix of emotions, from questioning whether the surgery was right for you to looking forward to your new life. Allow yourself to reflect on each of your emotions and do not be afraid to openly discuss them with others.

The first day after surgery, in general, your doctor would allow you to drink water and, possibly, some other liquid foods like broths, juices, milk, and soups. You may even be allowed some gelatin.

It is equally important to eat small portions since your stomach is, essentially, smaller. You will want to avoid caffeine and carbonated beverages, as these can cause dehydration, and could irritate your healing stomach. Over the first 4 weeks post-surgery, you will slowly reintroduce other foods into your diet, as directed by your doctor.

During the first few weeks, it will be mostly liquids and pureed foods because you are still healing. By this point, you will start to notice some weight loss, which can be a great source of encouragement while sticking to your new diet. Physical movement is vital every day, and your doctor may have you start on a modified exercise regimen.

Around week four through the next three months, you will continue to reintroduce other types of foods into your diet. At this stage, soft foods and those that are ground or finely diced can be consumed. By the end of the second month, your body will be mostly healed and there should not be any significant pain left. If there is, let your doctor know immediately.

Around the third month and through the sixth, post-surgery, expect physical activities and exercises to become more intense and normal.

However, you will not want to go overboard and should still follow your doctor’s recommendations. spicy foods, fried foods, sugary foods, chips, nuts, and other “crunchy” foods are not recommended, as they can irritate your stomach, and could halt your weight loss.

Regular follow-up care is necessary after your bariatric surgery in Houston. It can last as long as it is required to ensure you are properly reaching your weight loss goals. Initially, you may need to visit your doctor every few weeks the first several weeks post-surgery. From there, visits become less frequent and the doctor may only require monthly visits.

Your doctor will work with you to determine the most appropriate post-surgery care and treatment plan that is best for you.

By the time you reach your weight loss goals and objectives, you will have developed new healthier habits to help maintain your healthy weight. For more information about weight loss surgery options and which one could be right for you, please feel free to contact Bariatric Care Centers at 713-339-1353 to schedule a free one-on-one consultation with Houston bariatric doctor today!

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind the information presented here is for educational purposes only. All patients should consult with their own doctor prior to following any recommendations in our articles, blog posts, or videos. Every patient often has their own unique and individual needs, as well as potential limitations that only their treating physician would be aware of.

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