A lot of work goes into the pre-operative phase of bariatric surgery. You’ve likely met with multiple doctors and implemented lifestyle changes to ensure you’re in the best health for your surgery. However, while it’s easy to let the surgery day consume your focus, it’s just as important to have a plan in place for your recovery. The following are several tips to help you feel better while you recuperate at home:
- Prepare for the pain. Pain is an unavoidable part of any surgical procedure. Your surgeon will likely prescribe pain management medication, but it won’t eliminate all your discomfort. Mentally prepare for it and remind yourself that the pain is temporary.
- Don’t rush your recovery. You will feel a little better with each day, but pushing yourself too soon can cause injuries and delay your recovery. External healing happens faster than internal healing. Your incisions may look 100% healed while the inside of your stomach is still on the mend.
- Go for walks. Your surgeon will have you up and walking before you can leave the hospital. It may be painful at first, but it helps speed up your recovery. Start slow and listen to your body. Pushing yourself a little is fine, but trying to force your body to walk significantly farther or faster than usual can cause injuries.
- Invest in anti–gas products. In addition to walking, you will need to pass gas before you can check out of the hospital. It lets the surgeon know that the anesthesia is wearing off and your bowels are resuming normal function. Surgeries also trap gas in the abdominal cavity and can cause gas pain. Simethicone products like Alka-Seltzer Anti-Gas, Gas-X, and Maalox anti-gas help break down gas bubbles.
- Keep a pillow nearby. Laughing, coughing, and sneezing can cause discomfort while you recover from surgery. You can apply a small amount of counterpressure by holding a pillow against your stomach. It helps support your stomach muscles and reduces the pain.
- Don’t soak in the tub. You’ll be tired and sore after surgery, and the idea of a nice, hot bath may sound extremely appealing. However, most surgeons recommend waiting at least a week before having a soak in the tub. The bathwater likely has bacteria and germs washed off your body, and they can cause incision infections, healing delays, and other post-op complications.
- Follow your diet plan. Your recovery will have multiple dietary phases as your body adjusts to your new anatomy. You will eat a liquid diet for the first couple of weeks after surgery. From there, you can begin eating purees before moving on to soft foods. Your diet will stabilize between two to six months post-op. It’s essential that you stick to your surgeon’s diet recommendations to avoid setbacks or unnecessary discomfort.
The adage that failing to plan is planning to fail is true for many aspects of life, and bariatric surgery is no exception. Contact us to discuss the next steps in your weight loss journey.