After surgery patients are expected to commit to healthy new habits, such as diet and exercise which can be overwhelming but they are not impossible and you won’t have to do this on your own; a comprehensive care plan will be provided by our dedicated Brighton Bariatric team of healthcare professionals who will be available to help you. In addition attend a support group—you might draw inspiration from listening to other people’s stories.
After years failed attempts at losing weight it’s not unusual for patients to blame themselves or to think that surgery won’t work for them. However, many healthcare professionals would argue that the patients were not failures; the weight loss treatments failed them.
Bariatric surgery has a history of helping patients effectively transform their health. As a tool, bariatric surgery has impressive long-term weight loss results and in many cases, has resolved or improved co-morbid conditions. However, bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. It’s an ongoing journey toward transforming your health through lifestyle changes. After surgery, you will feel satisfied and fuller with less food. Positive changes in your body, your weight, and your health WILL occur and we look forward to going on this journey together!
To help prevent this, you will be put on blood thinning medication (heparin) and given compression stockings while in hospital. You will also be encouraged to get out of bed and walk as soon as possible after surgery. If you have had a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass the blood thinning medication will need to be continued for at least two weeks after you are discharged.
You need to consider how you will deal with the rapid weight loss that follows surgery. At Brighton Bariatrics we have access to expert Brighton based Plastic surgeons who will guide you in how body contouring following weight loss will work best with you as an individual.
At Brighton Bariatrics we are committed to safe, high quality surgery. Keeping track of how you are doing as parts of an anonymised data base as part of the National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR) as well a local Brighton Bariatric database to monitor our outcomes and raise standards is the best way of achieving this for you.
How long is my recovery?
As with any major surgery, there will be a recovery period. Recovery time varies from patient to patient. Remember that this is a necessary step, and the better care you take during recovery, the more quickly you’ll return to normal activity.
How to cope with recovery?
Bariatric surgery is a major procedure, and recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to follow your Brighton Bariatric surgeon’s postoperative recovery instructions. Your health is worth the time it takes to fully recover. Try not to rush it. After all, your body will be healing from surgery. Take the time to follow your instructions and be sure to use this time to practice healthy habits, such as diet and exercise.
When can I fly after my operation?
We recommend that you do not fly for approximately 6 weeks before or after your Bariatric surgery to decrease the likelihood of developing clots in your leg (Deep Vein Thrombosis) or lung (Pulmonary Embolism). Please discus any such plans with your Brighton Bariatric team.
How often will I be able to eat?
After recovery, most patients are instructed to eat 1/4 cup, or 2 ounces, of food per meal. As time goes on, you can eat more (as instructed by your Brighton Bariatric Team). Most people can eat approximately 1 cup of food per meal (with 4 ounces of protein) a year or more post surgery.
When can I go back to my normal activity level?
Your ability to resume normal activities depends on your physical condition, the nature of the activity, and the type of bariatric surgery you had. Many patients return to normal levels of activity within three to six weeks of surgery.
How much exercise is needed after bariatric surgery?
Exercise is an important part of success after surgery. You will be encouraged to begin exercising, limited only by discomfort, about two weeks after surgery. The type of exercise depends on your overall condition, but the long-term goal is to get 30 minutes of exercise three or more days each week.
Is there any difficulty in taking medications?
Most pills or capsules are small enough to pass through the new stomach pouch. We may initially suggest that medications be taken in crushed or liquid form. Keep in close touch with your Brighton Bariatric team and of course your GP.
What is the long-term follow-up schedule?
If you have had a gastric band you will need to work with the Brighton Bariatric team to potentially have your band adjusted several times during the first 12 to 18 months after surgery. If you have had a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy you will typically see the Brighton Bariatric team for three to five follow-up appointments in the first 1-2 years. Over time all bariatric patients will need regular checks for anaemia (low red blood cell count) and vitamin B12, folate, and iron levels. This is usually coordinated by your GP.
How can I find a support group?
Support groups whether face to face or online forums can give you an excellent opportunity to talk about personal issues. It is important not to be distracted also by the easily found web based scare stories!
If we may give you some advice that we have witnessed at Brighton Bariatrics it is that Bariatric surgery will not resolve personal, monetary or relationship issues. A well balanced and supportive open support group, friends or family will keep you motivated, allow you to celebrate small victories together, and provide a perspective on the everyday successes and challenges that you will experience.