Once you are able to move around without too much discomfort, can take
food in by mouth, and can do without injected pain medication - you will
be ready to leave the hospital. You will be given specific instructions
regarding what you can eat and when you will need to come back for your
follow-up visit. You will need to remain on a liquid diet after you are
discharged and will receive additional instructions regarding your diet
from the surgeon.
Several weeks after you leave the hospital, you will be able to eat
regular food in small quantities. Always remember that a few bites of food
will make you feel full. The following points need to be reemphasized:
Listen to your stomach, not your eyes. Stop eating when you feel full,
even if it seems that you have not eaten enough. One bite too many may
cause significant discomfort. One extra bite may cause you to vomit.
Eating After Gastric Bypass Surgery
After about six weeks, it should be relatively easy for you to enjoy a
small meal. Eat only three meals a day. Establish regular
mealtimes. Your diet should consist of solid food, mostly meat, including
poultry and fish, and vegetables, in very small quantities. Take very
small bites, chew all your food well, and eat slowly. A meal should take
at least thirty minutes to an hour to consume. DO NOT drink liquids 30
minutes prior to a meal to 30 minutes after a meal, and no drinking during
the meal. Drinking during the meal will cause a sensation of pressure in
the chest that is uncomfortable and can cause the food to backup.
Take the time to relax just before, during, and after mealtime. Between
meals, it is advisable to drink five or six glasses of water, coffee, or
tea without sugar or non-carbonated diet drinks to maintain your fluid
intake. Do not drink liquids that are high in calories. Remember, if you
take in extra calories between meals, weight loss will be slower and you
will not achieve the weight you desire.
Exercise After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Exercise is important in the recovery from any operation. Walking is one
of the most effective forms of exercise for this purpose. A regular
exercise program is highly recommended. Begin with very short walks
several times a day and gradually increase the distance. Walking also
improves muscle tone while you are losing weight. Do not, at first,
engage in strenuous exercise. For example, do not lift more than ten
pounds at a time. About six weeks after surgery, you should be able to
tolerate all but the most strenuous exercises.
Do not sit or stand in one place for a long period of time. Light
housekeeping chores may be performed when you feel you are able. Driving
a car is usually permitted one week after surgery. Sexual activities may
be resumed unless otherwise specified.
Most people are able to return to light work after two weeks and to heavy
labor after six weeks. The time of your return to work will depend upon
the physical demands of your job and the rate of your recovery.
Expected Weight Loss After Gastric Bypass Surgery
In the first year, patients lose, on the average, approximately one
hundred pounds, or two-thirds of their excess weight. By the end of the
second year, the average patient has lost 36% of his or her total body
weight. About 10% of patients fail to experience significant weight loss,
primarily because they persist in consuming high-calorie liquids or soft
foods, such as peanut butter, ice cream and sodas, which readily slide
through the little stomach pouch.
You will need to return for follow-up visits periodically until your
weight has stabilized. Blood tests may be required to help assess your
Unless you understand all of the problems that can arise from this
surgery, accept the risks, and are willing to cooperate fully in follow-up
and treatment, you should not have this operation.
Surgery by itself will not miraculously cure obesity. Best results are
obtained when patients practice good dietary and exercise habits. Your
cooperation is essential. The surgical procedure was the physical vehicle
you needed to curb overeating.
There are many changes and adjustments to be made with weight
loss. However, the frustrations you may experience will seem
insignificant in comparison to the overwhelming satisfaction produced by
increased self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.