What to Expect During Your Hospital Stay for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric SurgeryIn the Days Before Your Surgery:

  • Your doctor will give you a list of instructions to get ready for surgery that will include dietary counseling, lab tests needed and psychological readiness.
  • You will go to the hospital presurgery testing area to have some laboratory tests completed, so that your surgeon has complete information needed to evaluate your status during surgery.
  • The week prior to surgery, you need to contact the bariatric unit nurse to schedule a preop education class, arrange for a tour of the unit and meet the staff who will care for you and help you recover after your surgery.
  • You will learn about the pain medication pump, which allows you to control the timing and amount of pain medication you need to keep you comfortable following surgery.
  • You will also learn about other medications used while you are recovering from surgery, and how to minimize complications through breathing exercises, leg exercises and getting out of bed as early as possible.
  • The night before surgery, you will need to stop all eating and drinking at midnight.

On the Day of Your Surgery:

  • Check in at a prearranged time to get ready for surgery.
  • When you wake up, you will be in the postanesthesia care unit where the nurse will check on you frequently to assess your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.
  • Sometimes it may be necessary to spend the first night or two after surgery in the intensive care unit, where you will be closely monitored as you recover.
  • Once you begin to wake up, you will be moved to the bariatric surgery unit.

As You Completely Awaken, You Will Have:

  • A plastic tubing device delivering oxygen through your nose
  • An IV in your arm to give you fluids
  • A urinary catheter to drain your urine
  • An abdominal binder to support your incision site
  • You may also have a tube in your nose that sits in your stomach to remove fluid from this area

That evening, the nurses and doctors will ask you to sit up and use the breathing device to exercise your lungs. This is an important step that will speed your recovery and protect you from infection.

In the days following your surgery:

  • Your doctor will check on you every day to see how you are doing. Generally all the tubes except the IV can be removed, and you can begin to get up and move around.
  • Your nurse will ask you to rate your pain using a pain scale of 1 to 10, (10 being the worst pain and 1 being little or no pain.)
  • Unless instructed otherwise by your physician, it is important for you to get up and walk. Staying active immediately after surgery is essential to your recovery.
  • Once you are able to begin taking small sips of water, your IV will be removed and your doctor may allow you to shower.
  • Over the next few days the dietitian, respiratory therapist, physical therapist and a case manager/ social worker may check on your progress.
  • Each of these specialists can provide you with information and guidance that will support your recovery and help you get started on your weight-loss journey.

When You are Ready to Go Home:

  • Your doctor will give you instructions for your first few days at home.
  • You will set up an appointment to see your doctor within one to two weeks after you leave the hospital.
  • Although you probably won't need it, your doctor has provided you with a contact phone number in case you have a concern at home following surgery.
  • Please report any persistent vomiting to your doctor or go to the emergency department if this occurs outside of usual office hours.
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In order to be successful in losing weight safely you need to:

  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions for eating and drinking.
  • Set up an appointment for your first support group meeting. People who attend the support group meetings have the easiest and most effective weight-loss experience.
  • Gradually increase your activity level at a pace agreed upon by you and your doctor. People who enjoy a regular exercise routine are more likely to build muscle and lose weight in a healthy way.
  • Be sure to get your prescriptions filled, and take the medicine and vitamins as directed.
  • Commit to lifelong follow-up with your bariatric program.
  • Avoid tobacco forever.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least one year.
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