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What to Expect

Bariatric surgery is a major event in your life that should be treated as a new beginning.

The main purpose of the surgery is to help you reduce the amount of food you are able to eat by decreasing the size of your stomach. Surgery doesn’t guarantee successful long-term weight reduction; it is simply a tool to help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Achieving optimal and permanent weight loss requires commitment to changing old behaviors into healthy lifelong habits!

Prepare in advance.

It is essential to prepare ahead of time for your life after weight loss surgery. This includes lifestyle modifications regarding diet and exercise.

Before Surgery

  • You absolutely must quit smoking prior to surgery! Smoking will slow the healing process! This is a non-negotiable requirement to have bariatric surgery.
  • Try making some healthy changes before surgery to help you prepare for your new lifestyle and diet after surgery.
  • Build a support system. Join SCH's Facebook support group so you can network with other patients who understand what your are going through. To request to join this group, search “St. Claire Surgical Weight Loss” on Facebook.
  • Work through the finances. Many health insurance plans cover bariatric surgery, but every plan is different. Be sure you understand what your insurance will and will not cover and make arrangements for any uncovered expenses you may incur. If your insurance won’t cover the cost of your bariatric surgery, there are other options.
  • Attend all required preoperative appointments including a preoperative and anesthesia (PAT) consultation.
  • Make plans before your hospital admission to have a well-stocked pantry when you arrive home after surgery. Purchase any vitamins or supplements your surgeon or dietitian suggest and have them on hand.
  • Make exercise plans to implement after your surgery and have them approved by your physician.

The Day of Surgery

Most gastric sleeve surgeries last 60-90 minutes, however, the length of surgery varies by each patient’s anatomy and surgical findings. After your surgery is complete, you will be monitored in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) for at least 30 minutes before being transferred to a patient room.

Your Hospital Stay

The typical stay for a gastric sleeve patient is one night, but this could vary. You may experience a number of side effects during this time, such as nausea, fatigue, pain, digestive issues, and emotional distress. You will need to report any negative symptoms to your nurses.

  • Within a few hours of arriving to your hospital room you will likely begin a clear liquid diet. You should drink very small amounts of liquid and increase slowly.
  • You will be encouraged to begin deep breathing/coughing exercises to decrease any risk of respiratory complications such as pneumonia.
  • Staff will assist you with getting in and out of bed and walking within just a few hours after surgery. It is very important to walk as much as possible to help prevent blood clots and decrease pain.

If all goes well, you will be discharged from the hospital the day after your surgery.

After Surgery

Your body will need time to heal after surgery so plan to make some necessary accommodations for daily tasks such as work or child care in the first few weeks post-surgery.

  • You may resume your daily self-care activities upon discharge from the hospital, as moderate activity is recommended.
    • No lifting, pushing, pulling, or tugging more than 25 pounds the first three weeks after your procedure.
    • You may return to work one-two weeks after surgery with this lifting restriction. If your employer will not allow you to return to work with lifting restrictions, you may be off three weeks.
  • No smoking for at least eight weeks post-op. We ask that you make every effort to stop smoking permanently. Our staff will be happy to refer you to St. Claire HealthCare’s tobacco cessation specialist.
  • Follow your physician's guidance on medications you should and should not take after surgery. If you have any questions about what medications you should take, contact your surgeon's office.
  • Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated after weight loss surgery takes planning and discipline. Plan to keep a water bottle with you at all times and take small sips throughout the day.
  • Attend all scheduled post-operative appointments and follow up with your surgeon if you have any concerns.
  • Follow your care team's recommendations on nutrition and exercise after bariatric surgery.
  • Enjoy a healthier life!

If you have questions at any point during your surgical weight loss journey, give us a call at 606-783-7660 and we will be happy to help.

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