- The hospital stay for bariatric surgery averages two to five days, longer for those with complications. Patients undergoing the laparoscopic method usually have a shorter hospitalization period.
- When you return to your room after surgery, you will continue to be closely monitored by your nurses. The first few days after the operation are a critical time for you to heal.
- Along with periodic monitoring of your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respirations), your nurses will encourage and assist you in performing deep breathing, coughing, leg movement exercises and getting out of bed after surgery. These activities can help to prevent complications.
- Be certain to report any symptoms of nausea, anxiety, muscle spasms, increased pain or shortness of breathing to your nurse.
- To varying degrees, it is normal to experience fatigue, nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness, surgical pain, weakness and light-headedness, loss of appetite, gas pain, flatulence, loose stools ad emotional ups and downs in the early days and weeks after surgery. You may discuss specific medical concerns with your surgeon.
- 2. Pain Control
- You may feel pain where the incision was made or from the position your body was in during surgery. Some patients may also experience neck and should ear pain after laparoscopy. Your comfort is very important to your medical team. Although there will always be some discomfort after an operation, keeping your pain under control is necessary for your recovery. When you are comfortable, you are better able to take part in activities such as walking, deep breathing and coughing, all of which are imperative in order to recover as quickly as possible.
- If you are feeling pain after surgery, you will be able to push a button on a cord to administer pain medication to yourself. This method of administration is called “patient-controlled analgesia” (PCA). As soon as you are able to tolerate fluids, you medical team will add oral pain medication.
- Please remember that you are not bothering the staff if you are asking for pain medicine! Your nurses and doctors will ask you to pick a way that you can describe your pain.
- Two helpful ways to describe the pain include the number scale (0 to 10 scale; 0= no pain; 10= the worst pain possible) or you can use the words (none, mild, moderate, severe).
- No matter what form of pain control you receive, PCA or pill, here are some pointers to help you become more comfortable:
- Tell your nurses and physicians if you are having pain, particularly if it keeps you from moving, taking deep breaths and generally feeling comfortable
- Everyone is different, so keeping your nurses informed about how you feel will help them help you
iii. Plan ahead for pain; if you are comfortable lying down, you may still need a pain medication to get up and walk around
- Keep ahead of the pain. Don’t wait for the pain to be at its worst before you push the PCA button or ask for pain medicine. Pain medication works best when used to prevent pain
- The risk of becoming addicted to pain medicine is very low when it is used for a specific medical purpose, such as surgery
- Exercises That Help to Speed up Your Recovery
- Changing positions in bed, walking and prescribed exercise promotes circulation. Good blood flow discourages the formation of blood clots and enhances healing. Getting up, walking and doing your post-operative exercises may help to speed up your recovery and minimize complications.
- Note: The exercises we’re about to describe should be repeated at least once every hour after surgery, but it is also a good idea to practice them before surgery in order to help increase lung function and agility.
- With the help of your nurse or physical therapist, you should sit up and dangle your feet the first night of surgery and stand at your bedside. Yes, it may hurt but each time you get out of bed it will get easier. Each day you will notice your strength returning, with less and less pain. You will be asked to get out of bed and walk the first post-operative day. After that, you will be required to walk at least three times per day and perform your leg and breathing exercises hourly. You may not feel well enough to go for a walk, but it is very important that you try your best and do as much as possible.
- Your nurse will instruct you in coughing and deep breathing, and you will be shown how to use an “incentive spirometer” to help you expand your lungs. Coughing and deep breathing is important so that you will loosen any secretions that may be in your throat or lungs and to help prevent pneumonia. Deep breathing also increases circulation and promotes elimination of anesthesia.
- The proper way to deep breath and cough is to follow these steps:
- Inhale as deeply as you can
- Hold breath for two seconds
iii. Exhale completely
- Repeat the above steps three times
- Inhale deeply
- Cough. The cough should come from the abdomen, not from your throat: hold your pillow on your abdomen for support
- The proper way to exercise your feet and legs is to follow these steps;
- Push your toes of both feet toward the end of the bed (as if you’re pressing down on a gas pedal)
- Pull your toes toward the head of your bed, and then relax
iii. Circle each ankle to the right, then to the left
- Repeat three times