Returning Home After Your Bariatric Procedure
Heading home after a short stint at the hospital can be daunting. After all, you will not have a medical team keeping an eye on you 24/7, tending to your every concern. But we want to reassure you that the decision to discharge is based on your doctor’s belief that you are a solid path to recovery. Further, no matter what time, day or night, you can always contact our office should you have any concerns during early recovery. Of course, in case of emergency, call 911.
Important Considerations When Going Home
Before discharge, we will verify that have someone to drive you home and someone to help you with daily needs and chores around house. In the first few days after surgery you will be recovering from the general anesthesia and you may be on narcotic pain medication, which impairs many basic functions. You will also avoid driving for at least a week after surgery for a few days after you stop taking narcotic pain medication. During this time, you will definitely need help from a friend or a loved one.
Narcotic pain medication may cause mild constipation. Reference your post-op packet for specific relief tips but generally:
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can exacerbate constipation
- Walk as much as you can (see below)
- If needed, take a mild stool softener such as Colace according to your post-op instructions
- If none of the above seem to be working, contact us about using a suppository, enema or Milk of Magnesia
Continuing to Walk
Just as you were asked to walk around the recovery wing at the hospital, you will also be expected to walk as often as you can at home without exceeding your physical limits. You will notice that you will get tired quickly and as such, we recommend avoiding steep stairs unless absolutely necessary. You should pay particular attention to stay hydrated, especially if it is hot outside you are spending time walking the heat. Not only will stay hydrated and use the rest of fainting from dehydration, but it also helps speed your recovery, normalize bowel movements and fight off infection.
Proper Wound Care
When you go home, you will notice gauze over your incisions. This gauze should be left on for the first 48 hours after surgery and only changed when necessary. Once the gauze is removed, you will see small white strips (Steri-Strips) covering the incisions. These should be allowed to fall off on their own and will do so between one to two weeks after surgery. Do not use any kind of antibacterial ointment, scar cream or otherwise unless specifically told by your doctor. Whenever touching the area around your wounds, be sure your hands are thoroughly cleaned using proper washing techniques. Your post-operative packet will give you details on good wound care.
You can begin showing 48 hours after surgery however DO NO submerge your body in a bath or swimming pool for at least two weeks.
Always Getting Better
Once you are discharged home you will undoubtedly have some discomfort and swelling, which is perfectly normal. The rule of thumb, however, is that over the course of days up to a week after surgery, you should progressively feel better– Swelling should go down, pain should lessen and redness of incisions should improve. If it doesn’t, we encourage you to call our office. Click here to find out when to call our office.