Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
Gastric Bypass :: Procedure Guide :: Risks and Complications :: Post Operative Instructions
Post Operative Instructions
Indications for possible complications post operation
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- Check temperature and pulse twice daily for the first week. Call if fever is 101° or higher or if pulse is over 120.
- Contact us for vomiting or abdominal pain lasting more than 4 hours or diarrhea lasting over 24 hours.
- Contact us anytime you feel the need to be seen or you
can go to the ER of the hospital you had surgery.
- You may bathe or shower; do not scrub incisions for 3 weeks. Notify us if you notice any redness or drainage from incisions. Wash with antibacterial soap and gently pat dry.
Specific Recovery Instructions
There are many things you will experience once you are home recovering. When you get home, plan on taking things easy for a while. Your body is still recovering from the stresses of major surgery and weight loss occurring during the recovery period.
- Your activity will be restricted to no strenuous activity for 4 to 6 weeks after the operation.
- You may walk and perform light household duties as tolerated upon your return home. Usually, frequent walks of short duration are tolerated better than one or two long walks that go to or past the point of fatigue.
- Increase the distance that you walk gradually. By your six week office visit you should be walking regularly unless you have specific problems with your weight bearing joints. In this case, water exercises are recommended.
- Check with your surgeon about starting water activities. Usually you can begin about three weeks after surgery.
- Patients undergoing the laparoscopic method are more frequently able to return to all activities within a shorter time frame.
- You may be tired, weak, nauseated or have vomiting the first few weeks after surgery.
- Keep up your fluid intake with small, frequent sips as necessary. Two Liters a day is the recommended minimum intake. Remember, do not drink with straws.
- Refer to the Diet section of your Surgery Guide for specific dietary instructions.
- Resume traveling short distances as soon as you feel strong enough to make the trip.
- Do not drive a motor vehicle until you are off the prescription pain medicines.
- Note: The first several weeks after your surgery you may feel weak and tire easily after activity. However, try to be as active as possible. Plan to walk as much as you can tolerate without becoming too tired. Start with short walks, increasing the distance each day. The more physically active you are, the more your recovery is enhanced and the more energy you’ll have. Continue walking at least four times daily, so that you are walking at least 30 to 45 minutes per day by the sixth week Find out more about starting an exercise program by reading about first steps (refer to exercise chapter) and continue to do the exercises that speed up your recovery.
- Avoid sitting and standing without moving for long periods.
- Change positions frequently while sitting, and walk around in lieu of standing still.
- Note: These strategies will help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.
- Avoid lifting anything heavier than 15 to 20 pounds, or do push or pull motions (i.e. vacuuming) during the first six weeks.
- Do not do any heavy work for the first three months.
- Climbing stairs is encouraged.
- Note: Remember that most patients will feel tired, less energetic and sore for several weeks following either operative method as these are major operative procedures and you will be losing weight as well as healing wounds.
Even though we do not expect you to have any serious problems, some symptoms that you may experience need to be addressed immediately. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your surgeon right away:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness of incisions. An infection requires antibiotics.
- Drainage from the incision sites that is cloudy or foul smelling.
- Fever over 100.8°F on two or more occasions during the first 1-3 weeks after surgery. For a reliable temperature reading, no Tylenol should be taken for 3-4 hours before. Hot liquids should not be taken immediately before taking your temperature. Be sure to have a working thermometer at home.
- A fast heart rate, usually greater than 120 beats per minute.
- Rigors or night sweats.
- Persistent pain, nausea, and/or vomiting after eating.
- Persistent diarrhea beyond the first week after discharge.
- Pain, redness, and/or swelling in your legs.
- Urine output or voiding less than four times in 24 hours.
- New onset of upper back, chest, or left shoulder pain. Lower back pain can be expected.
- Persistent hiccups and abdominal pain for more than 2 hours.
- Prolonged or unusual fatigue, disorientation, confusion, and depression.
- Signs of a bladder infection such as burning, pain, bleeding, hesitancy or frequency in urinating.
- Swelling and bruising – moderate swelling and bruising are normal after any surgery.
- Severe swelling and bruising may indicate bleeding or possible infection.
- Discomfort and pain – mild to moderate discomfort or pain is normal after any surgery.
- If the pain becomes severe and is not relieved by pain medication, please contact your surgeon.
- Numbness – small sensory nerves to the skin surface are occasionally cut when the incision is made or interrupted by undermining of the skin during surgery. The sensation in those areas gradually returns – usually within 2 to 3 months as the nerve endings heal spontaneously.
- Be especially careful not to burn yourself when applying heating pads to any area that may have some post-operative numbness.
- Itching – itching and occasional small shooting electrical sensations within the skin frequently occur as the nerve endings heal. These symptoms are common during the recovery period.
- Ice, skin moisturizers, vitamin E oil and massage are often helpful.
- Redness of scars – all new scars are red, dark pink or purple. The scars take about a year to fade.
- We recommend that you protect your scars from the sun for a year after your surgery. Even through a bathing suit, a good deal of sun light can reach the skin and cause damage. Wear a sunscreen with a skin-protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 when out in sunny weather.