Recovering from Weight Loss Surgery
In the days and weeks immediately following weight loss surgery, it is common to feel motivated and ready to begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle. However, your body requires time to recover from surgery, just as it would after any other operation. Exercise and healthy foods will have to wait as you gradually recover strength and energy.
While it is great to feel motivated, taking on too much, too quickly after weight loss surgery can lead to setbacks. Take your recovery period seriously and make sure you are acting in the best interest of your health at every point.
What to Do after Weight Loss Surgery
Immediately following surgery, your biggest concern should be finding a comfortable place to rest. In fact, it is recommended that even prior to your operation you make arrangements to have a comfortable recovery place set up for you. Before you leave the hospital, you’ll be encouraged to start walking short distances. Beyond this, you may require help with movements for the first several days.
Laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery allows for a much faster recovery period than a conventional operation. Even so, it is important that you make arrangements and give your body time to heal following surgery.
In addition to resting, you’ll be restricted to a liquid diet. This will further allow your stomach and digestive tract time to heal and will help you avoid discomfort.
The purpose of the post-surgical recovery period is to:
- Give your abdomen time to heal from the minor surgical incisions
- Allow your stomach and digestive tract time to adjust
- Help you avoid side effects and complications following surgery
Managing Pain Following Surgery
One of the benefits of having minimally invasive surgery is the reduced level of post-operative pain. Still, following surgery you may experience some discomfort—especially when moving. Your weight loss surgeon will provide you with pain medication as needed to help you cope through the recovery process.
You can help alleviate pain by:
- Letting your weight loss surgeon and hospital nurses know if you are in pain
- Planning ahead by having a comfortable recovery place set up in your home
- Following the recovery period guidelines regarding movement and diet
- Being proactive with pain medication and treatment
Some research has been completed concerning behaviors that will shorten the recovery period. Losing weight prior to your weight loss operation is associated with less post-operative pain and enhanced post-surgical weight loss results. It will also help you to complete deep breathing exercises and to make small movements as often as possible following surgery, such as circling your arms and legs.
The length of the recovery period differs slightly for each individual. Most people require at least six weeks for full healing following surgery. During this period, don’t lift anything 20 pounds or heavier and avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time. Your weight loss surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for your wounds during this time, as well.