Life After Bariatric Surgery: What to Expect
Whether you’re considering bariatric surgery or you’ve just had it, it’s good to know what life after bariatric surgery feels like.
This article written for you could be an invaluable tool to help you with what to expect after weight loss, you must be prepared for the emotional and physical changes that come as a result of the surgery.
If you want to maintain long-term weight loss, the first step, of course, is to follow a healthy diet that’s laid out by your doctor or a dietitian. This will include eating well-balanced meals and regularly taking supplements and vitamins depending on your specific situation
However, there is so much more to it than your new healthy diet. You should also:
- Exercise regularly
- Book follow-up appointments with your doctor
- Attend support groups if needed.
Before getting onto the details of the recommended exercise regime, the follow-up appointments and other aspects that will affect your lifestyle, let’s discuss the emotional adjustments that you might face.
The Emotional Effect
Weight-loss surgery can have a dramatic effect on your emotions. At times, there can be changes to your emotional state, such as insomnia and anxiety, just like withdrawal symptoms from other types of addictions
As you embrace your new body and your new diet, you might go through a difficult phase in which you’re accepting the new you or you might feel vulnerable when you’re in a crowded environment. However, although this can make you feel negative emotions, keep in mind it can also bring positive ones.
Your weight loss can give you the added body confidence that you’ve been missing. This could have a big effect on several areas of your life including your friendships, career and personal relationships.
It’s also important to consider the loose skin that will start to be more apparent once the pounds start to come off.
Regardless of the emotional impact of the surgery, it’s always beneficial to attend a support group with other patients. During these sessions, you can discuss with others how you feel and challenges you’ve been coping with. A support group is a vital way to help you move forward and remind you that you are not alone after bariatric surgery.
After bariatric surgery, it’s important that you don’t push your body too much. As you’ll have a reduced calorie intake, you might not have as much energy.
Therefore, to encourage fat burn and preserve muscle mass, it’s good to start the new exercise regime slowly and build it up over time. Exercise accompanied by a healthy diet, are the best way to achieve long term success and positive results.
After surgery, you should start exercising by going on short walks up to 5 times a day. Once you feel more comfortable, the lengths and frequency of your walks can be increased. Besides walks, bariatric patients can do the following low impact exercises:
- Light weight lifting
However, there are certain exercises and activities that you should avoid after bariatric surgery. These limitations are usually necessary for up to six weeks while you’re body is recovering:
- Avoid long walks and standing for a long period of time.
- Avoid sitting in one position for too long – try to change positions frequently.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects – nothing heavier than 30 pounds.
- Avoid ‘push or pull’ activities such as vacuuming for up to two months.
Why You Must Stay Hydrated Post-Surgery
Following your bariatric surgery, you might find that you’re nauseated, tired or weak. To ensure that you keep up your fluid intake, it’s vital that you drink up to 30 oz of water a day – keeping in mind that you need to take little sips to prevent vomiting.
Once you feel well enough after your surgery, you can start travelling short distances again. However, you should not drive a vehicle until after you’ve stopped your prescription pain medication.
Your Health After Surgery
Throughout the recovery period, you might feel cold, have body aches, hair loss or dry skin. This is completely normal and things will return to normal as your body gets used to the new anatomy.
During this period, it’s vital that you follow the diet regime laid out by your doctor to guarantee that you’re not suffering from nutritional or protein deficiencies.
Working After Surgery
It’s typically recommended that bariatric patients take up to two weeks off from work. Throughout this time, you should try and rest as much as possible.
When you’re recovering, you should know that the treatment area could be sore, numb, swollen or bruised. These are all typical symptoms that will gradually improve.
Cosmetic Changes Post-Surgery
After bariatric surgery, the contour and shape of your body will change. Because of this, there might be excess skin left around the thighs, breasts, face, neck and upper arms.
If you want to improve your body’s appearance, you can seek cosmetic surgery. However, it’s critical that you wait at least 6 months post-bariatric surgery before having any cosmetic procedures done. This allows the weight loss to stabilize and for the skin to shrink.
Pregnancy and Contraception
It’s recommended that women try to avoid becoming pregnant for 12 to 18 months after bariatric surgery. This is due to the effect that the surgery has on mineral and vitamin levels. Therefore you should:
- Continue using contraception until advised it’s safe to attempt to become pregnant. The contraception could vary from person to person and some aren’t suitable for those who have had weight loss surgery. Therefore, it’s best to ask your doctor’s advice before changing contraceptive methods.
- If you’ve become pregnant, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Follow Up Appointments With Your Bariatric Surgeon
During the first year after your surgery, you’ll have several follow-up appointments with your surgeon. Scheduled on a monthly basis, they are designed to monitor your progress and answer any queries that you might have.
Typically, these will include the following:
- 1-week post-surgery: a postoperative class with other bariatric patients. During this time, we will discuss nutrition and on-going recovery.
- Two weeks post-surgery: your healing will be checked and the next phase of your diet prescribed.
- Three weeks post-surgery: meeting with the bariatric dietician.
- One month post-surgery: routine check-up. During this appointment, your dietary intake will be assessed, along with your incisions and how they’re healing.
From then on, you’ll have monthly assessments, in which you’ll undergo blood tests, your eating behaviors will be determined and anthropometrics measured. After your first yearly visit, unless there are any complications, you will have annual lifetime visits.
What Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Although the following symptoms are unlikely, if you experience any of these, it’s essential that you contact your surgeon straight away:
- A fever of above 100.5 F
- Increased pain, swelling or redness in your wounds
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
- Vomiting that lasts more than 12 hours
- Swelling, pain or redness in your legs
- Any other unprecedented pain
The following are considered to be normal symptoms after bariatric surgery:
- Moderate bruising or swelling – if it’s severe, make sure that you notify your surgeon.
- Mild to moderate pain or discomfort
- Numbness in small sensory nerves for up to three months.
- Itching around the wound.
- Red, dark pink or purple scars – these will heal over time.
Bariatric Surgery Mexico
If you’re interested in scheduling a personal consultation with one of our bariatric surgeons at our accredited surgical center in Mexico, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today by calling toll-free on 1 (619)738-2144 now.