after gastric
bypass surgery

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After Gastric Bypass Surgery

What To Expect After Gastric Bypass Surgery

When you are able to move about without too much discomfort, to take in food by mouth, and can do without injectable pain medication (about 3 days), you are ready to leave the hospital. At the time of discharge, you will be given specific instructions indicating what you may and may not do and when to come back to the office for follow-up. You will need to remain on a liquid diet after discharge and you will receive additional instructions regarding your diet from the surgeon.

Several weeks after you have left the hospital, you will be able to eat regular food in small quantities. Always remember that a few bites of food will make you feel full. The following points need to be reemphasized: Listen to your stomach, not your eyes. Stop eating when you feel full, even if it seems that you have not eaten enough. One bite too many may cause significant discomfort. One extra bite may cause you to vomit. You do not need a lot of food.

Eating After Gastric Bypass Surgery

After about six weeks, it should be relatively easy for you to enjoy a small meal. Eat only three meals a day. Establish regular mealtimes. Your diet should consist of solid food, mostly meat, including poultry and fish, and vegetables, in very small quantities. Take very small bites, chew all your food well, and eat slowly. A meal should take at least thirty minutes to an hour to consume. DO NOT drink liquids 30 minutes prior to a meal to 30 minutes after a meal, and no drinking during the meal. Drinking during the meal will cause a sensation of pressure in the chest that is uncomfortable and can cause the food to backup.

Take the time to relax just before, during, and after mealtime. Between meals, it is advisable to drink five or six glasses of water, coffee, or tea without sugar or non-carbonated diet drinks to maintain your fluid intake. Do not drink liquids that are high in calories. Remember, if you take in extra calories between meals, weight loss will be slower and you will not achieve the weight you desire.

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Exercise After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Exercise is important in the recovery from any operation. Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise for this purpose. A regular exercise program is highly recommended. Begin with very short walks several times a day and gradually increase the distance. Walking also improves muscle tone while you are losing weight. Do not, at first, engage in strenuous exercise. For example, do not lift more than ten pounds at a time. About six weeks after surgery, you should be able to tolerate all but the most strenuous exercises.

Do not sit or stand in one place for a long period of time. Light housekeeping chores may be performed when you feel you are able. Driving a car is usually permitted one week after surgery. Sexual activities may be resumed unless otherwise specified.

Most people are able to return to light work after two weeks and to heavy labor after six weeks. The time of your return to work will depend upon the physical demands of your job and the rate of your recovery.

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Expected Weight loss After Gastric Bypass Surgery

In the first year, patients lose, on the average, approximately one hundred pounds, or two-thirds of their excess weight. By the end of the second year, the average patient has lost 36% of his or her total body weight. About 10% of patients fail to experience significant weight loss, primarily because they persist in consuming high-calorie liquids or soft foods, such as peanut butter, ice cream and sodas, which readily slide through the little stomach pouch.

You will need to return for follow-up visits periodically until your weight has stabilized. Blood tests may be required to help assess your progress.

Unless you understand all of the problems that can arise from this surgery, accept the risks, and are willing to cooperate fully in follow-up and treatment, you should not have this operation.

Surgery by itself will not miraculously cure obesity. Best results are obtained when patients practice good dietary and exercise habits. Your cooperation is essential. The surgical procedure was the physical vehicle you needed to curb overeating.

There are many changes and adjustments to be made with weight loss. However, the frustrations you may experience will seem insignificant in comparison to the overwhelming satisfaction produced by increased self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

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