When undergoing surgery, it’s important to be prepared. Here’s how to promote healing both before and after weight loss surgery for the best results.
So, you have finally decided to undergo weight loss surgery. Congratulations! You will finally get rid of all the unwanted weight and set yourself on a health journey. Any surgery, big or small, requires proper before and aftercare in order to deem desired results. Let’s explore how to prepare yourself for proper healing before and after weight loss surgery.
Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery is an amazing tool that allows you to manage your weight. However, there is a lot of work that needs to be done on your part. Here is how you can prepare your body for weight loss surgery:
If you smoke, you need to quit smoking a month or two prior to the surgery. Smoking increases your complications post-surgery especially chances of getting pneumonia and lung diseases. Call your primary care physician if you are struggling with quitting smoking.
Lower the Calorie Intake
You need to limit your calorie intake to 1200 – 1500 calories as discussed with the surgeon during consultation. Aim at eating nutrient-rich foods to avoid feeling tired and lethargic at all times.
Work Out Routine
It is good to start a workout routine that will assist you in your weight loss goals.
Do not consume caffeinated beverages at least a month before the surgery. It includes coke, Pepsi, coffee, tea, or anything that contains caffeine. There are plenty of de-caffeinated options available in the market if you can’t skip your morning cup of joe.
Blood Thinners and Medications
Avoid taking blood thinners and herbal supplements for at least a week prior to the surgery. If you take certain medications regularly, discuss them with your surgeon to ensure it doesn’t interfere with the healing.
Get all your lab tests done as recommended by the surgeon to ensure you are good to go for the procedure.
It is important to be positive and have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery. Discuss any concerns with your surgeon in advance.
Aftercare Weight Loss Surgery
As soon as you wake up after the weight loss surgery, you’ll either be in the recovery room or taken there shortly afterward. If you are breathing normally, showing signs of stability, you will be shifted into a regular hospital room.
Control the diet as per the instructions given by your surgeon. For the first week after the surgery, stick to a liquid diet; clear broth, vegetable/fruit juices, yogurt, and non-carbonated drinks are great options. For the next 2 to three weeks, aim at eating softer foods in small portions. Drink water fifteen minutes before your meals.
Slowly move to normal foods (as discussed by the doctor) and make sure to chew them well.
A few food tips to be mindful of are:
- Take 3 meals a day and avoid snacking in between.
- Stop eating as soon as you feel full.
- Do not consume soft drinks, coffee, or unsweetened drinks.
- Add high protein foods to your diet.
- Limit the intake of carbohydrates and fats.
- Take dietary supplements as per your surgeon’s recommendation.
- Limit your sugar to less than 15g per meal.
Take all the medications given by your surgeon timely to avoid discomfort and inflammation. Do not consume blood thinners or herbal supplements for at least a week after the surgery or as discussed by your surgeon. The initial few days can be quite uncomfortable but the pain will subside shortly.
Activity and Circulation
You need to keep a close check on your activity levels while recovering from weight loss surgery. Some activity is important in order to prevent pneumonia, blood clots, and constipation. Your surgeon will ask you to walk lightly around your room, probably a day after the surgery. It keeps the circulation going and prevents deadly clots.
However, stay clear of all other strenuous exercises along with heavy lifting for at least 2 to 3 months after the surgery. You can resume light exercising after week 2 after having a thorough discussion with your surgeon.
Follow Up Appointments
Always go for follow-up appointments to ensure everything is going well and you are healing at the right pace. Skipping on them could lead to disastrous results.
Most surgeons provide their patients with Incentive Spirometer. Take 10 deep breaths into a spirometer to prevent pneumonia, lung collapse, and other breathing problems. If you have asthma, be sure to bring your inhalers everywhere.
Smoking hinders the healing process. Hence, you will need to quit smoking for at least a month or two after the surgery as well.
It is common to feel tired, lethargic, and weak post the surgery. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting during the first-week post-surgery. It can leave you feeling dehydrated. Hence, it is important to drink water. Aim at drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. Do not drink water in huge gulps, take small sips throughout the day instead.
Weight loss surgery incision will typically use dissolvable sutures that will dissolve on their own. You need minimal wound care. Make sure to keep the incision clean and dry at all times. Avoid exposing the wound to moisture for longer durations. For three to four weeks, do not get the incision completely wet. Avoid taking baths, diving in swimming pools, or visiting saunas.
Check your wound for any signs of infection; redness, swelling, leaks, red streaks, yellow/green purulent or odorous drainage. If any of these signs occur, immediately get in touch with your surgeon.
Visit a Surgery Recovery Center
The biggest key to success both before and after weight loss surgery is to visit a surgery recovery center. Here, you will have private duty nurses to assist you through each step of the recovery process.
They will assist you with medication management, wound care, proper nutrition, and ensure that you are comfortable and can heal efficiently and properly.
Weight loss surgery is not an overnight fix. It is a part of the entire process that will lead you towards a better and healthier life. If you wish to heal well, minus any complications, it is a must to follow all the instructions given by your surgeon both before and after weight loss surgery.
If the entire process seems overwhelming, it is good to book yourself in a recovery center. At a recovery center, all your needs will be met and you won’t have to micro-manage everything from exercising to wound care to food. It is definitely an easier way to heal comfortably.