Recovery Process After Surgery and Office follow ups
You can expect to stay one or two days in the hospital after bariatric surgery, but it can be longer for those who have many other health problems, which is more likely for older people. Laparoscopic surgery tends to have a shorter time of hospitalization. Majority of patients spend only one night in the hospital.
When you are back in your room when surgery is over, your nurses will keep monitoring you closely. After the procedure, those first hours are a crucial time of healing.
Your vital signs will be monitored periodically, and the nurses taking care of you will help you with your coughing, deep breathing, exercises, leg movements, and helping you get out of bed a few hours post-surgery.
Be sure that you tell your nurse about any shortness of breath, anxiety, pain that’s getting worse, muscle spasms, or nausea.
To some degree, it can be normal to have the following: nausea and vomiting, weakness, fatigue, surgical pain, sleeplessness, a loss of appetite, flatulence, unstable emotions, gas pain and loose stools in the first few weeks after your procedure.
You can talk to Dr. Mailapur or his PA about any concerns you have.
After the surgery, you may have pain at the incision site or from your body’s positioning while in surgery. Some will get pain in their shoulder and neck after having laparoscopic surgery. Your medical team wants you to be as comfortable as possible. After any surgery, there will be some degree of discomfort, and it’s important for your recovery to have the pain controlled.
If you feel comfortable, you will be better able to engage in deep breathing, walking, and coughing and all of these activities are necessary to help you recover faster.
After your surgery, if you have pain, tell your nurse about it, and she will give you pain medication either by mouth or through your IV. For some patients, a patient-controlled analgesia machine will allow you to administer your pain medication with the push of a button. When you can tolerate taking in fluids, oral pain medicine may also be added.
Remember that when you ask the staff for pain medication, you are not bothering them. Your doctors and nurses will have you choose a way to talk about the pain you are having. They do this to keep the language uniform.
The number scale can be a useful way to rate your pain, with zero equaling no pain and 10 being the worst possible pain. You can also use words like severe, moderate, or mild when you describe it.
Whether you have a pill or a PCA, there are a few ways that you can stay more comfortable:
- Talk to your doctors and nurses about your pain. This is especially true when pain keeps you from going things like taking deep breaths, moving, or staying comfortable.
- Every patient is unique, so it’s essential to tell the nurses how you feel to help you to the best of their abilities.
- Be ready for pain; even if it is comfortable to lie down, pain medicine may be needed for you to get out of bed and walk.
- Stay ahead of your pain. If you wait until the pain is extremely bad before you ask for medication or push your button, you will suffer unnecessarily. These medications work their best when you are using them to prevent your pain.
- When pain medication is used for an intended medical purpose, such as post-surgery, there is little risk of getting addicted to it.
Exercises that Help to Speed Up Your Recovery
Changing positions in bed, walking, and using the recommended exercises allow for better circulation. When your blood flow is good, you are less likely to develop blood clots and heal faster. Leaving your bed, walking around, and doing the prescribed exercises can help you recover quicker and have less risk of complications.
The exercises we have here should be done after surgery and then each hour after your procedure. It can be helpful to start practicing these before you have your surgery to increase your agility and lung function.
Get help from your physical therapist and nurse to sit up in your bed and put your feet over the side and make an effort to stand. It may be painful, but it will get easier to do each time. You will find that your strength is returning a little each day, and your pain is going down. On the day of your surgery, you will be asked to stand up and walk around. Later, you will have to walk around a few times a day to move as much as possible. You will do your breathing and leg exercises each hour. Even if you don’t feel much like walking, it’s important to try to do so as much as you can.
You will be shown how to do the deep breathing exercises and coughing by your nurse, and you’ll be instructed in how to breathe into an incentive spirometer to help your lungs to expand. Breathing deeply and coughing can help loosen anything from your lungs or through and lower your risk of developing pneumonia. Breathing deeply also gives you better circulation and allows the anesthesia to be eliminated from your body.
This is how you cough and breathe deeply:
- Breathe in as deeply as possible
- Hold only that big breath for two seconds
- Exhale all of it
- Repeat this process three times
- Breathe in deeply
- Make yourself cough. It should come from your abdomen and not originate in your throat. Many find it helpful to hold a pillow to their abdomen as they cough.
This is the way you will exercise your legs and feet:
- Press your toes toward the far end of your bed. It’s similar to pushing down on the gas pedal in your car.
- Then, pull your toes upward in the direction of the head of your bed. Relax.
- Make circles with your ankle, starting with circling to the right and then the left.
- Repeat these steps three times.