Life After Surgery
How to Cope with Recovery
Bariatric surgery is a major procedure, and recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s postoperative recovery instructions.
Discomfort and Pain
You may think that recovering from bariatric surgery will be a long and painful process—but, that’s not usually the case.
The majority of patients have minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, surgery. Surgeons who use a minimally invasive approach create four to five small incisions.
Compared to open surgery, minimally invasive surgery offers:
- A shorter hospital stay
- Faster recovery
- Less pain
- Less abdominal trauma
- Less scarring
If you’re concerned about pain after surgery, speak with your surgeon. Your surgeon will discuss the pain management medications that he or she will provide you with after the surgery. Some patients are provided with a system that allows them to control their pain medication with the push of a button.
Browse Real Patients’ Stories to hear about bariatric surgery patients’ experiences with recovery.
Being out of Commission
As with any major surgery, there will be a recovery period. Recovery periods vary from patient to patient and depend on the type of surgery you have.
One study found that laparoscopic gastric bypass patients typically:
- Left the hospital on the second day
- Returned to work at 21 days
Take the time to follow your surgeon’s instructions. And be sure to use this time to practice healthy habits, such as diet and exercise.
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.
Adjusting to New Habits
Bariatric surgery patients are expected to commit to healthy new habits, such as diet and exercise. You won’t have to become a triathlete or figure out these new habits on your own; just follow your bariatric program’s dietary and exercise instructions. Typically, a comprehensive bariatric program will have several healthcare professionals available to help you with new habits. A comprehensive bariatric program may include healthcare professionals such as:
- Bariatric surgeons
- Program coordinators
- Fitness experts
Many patients report that during the first 12 to 18 months following surgery, they enjoy a burst of energy and motivation.
During this time, they are making healthy lifestyle changes such as:
- Eating new foods and smaller portions
- Taking multivitamins and calcium supplements daily
- Exercising regularly
These changes can be overwhelming, but they are not impossible to make. Attend a support group—you might draw inspiration from listening to other people’s stories.
Start Your New Habits Today
Many bariatric programs recommend practicing healthy habits prior to surgery. If you’re not sure where to begin or you want tips, check out Healthy Habits for Success.
How to Cope with Fear of Failure
After years of losing weight and gaining it back, it’s not unusual to blame yourself. However, many healthcare professionals would argue otherwise: The patients were not failures; the weight loss treatments failed them. It’s important to understand what morbid obesity is and how surgery transforms health.
Just like many of the bariatric surgery patients featured in Real Patients’ Stories, you might think that surgery won’t work for you. It’s a common concern.
Bariatric Surgery: A Tool
Bariatric surgery has a history of helping patients effectively transform their health. Bariatric surgery restricts the amount of food patients can eat and, depending on the procedure, the number of calories and nutrients the body can absorb.
As a tool, bariatric surgery has impressive long-term weight loss results and, in many cases, has resolved or improved co-morbid conditions.