Life After Surgery
330 Orchard Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Here are some of the areas that will be important for patients to follow after weight loss surgery. We at Saint Raphael’s Center for Weight Loss Surgery are here to help you along the way.
Going Back to Work
The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. Post-surgery dietary guidelines will vary by surgeon. You may hear of other patients who are given different guidelines following their weight loss surgery. It is important to remember that every surgeon does not perform the exact same weight loss surgery procedure and that the dietary guidelines will be different for each surgeon and each type of procedure. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your surgeon’s recommended guidelines. The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a weight loss surgery patient may encounter:
- When you start eating solid food it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
- Don’t drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
Going Back to Work
Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of weight loss surgery you had. Band surgeries most often return to work within a week, and gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients return to full pre-surgery levels within 3-4 weeks. More extensive surgery or open incision gastric bypass may require approximately six weeks to return to full pre-surgery levels of activity.
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It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age avoid pregnancy during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.
Although the short-term effects of weight loss surgery are well understood, there are still questions to be answered about the long-term effects on nutrition and body systems. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years will need to be studied. Over time, you will need periodic checks for anemia (low red blood cell count) and Vitamin B12, folate and iron levels. Follow-up tests will initially be conducted every three to six months or as needed, and then every one to two years.
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The widespread use of support groups has provided weight loss surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Most learn, for example, that weight loss surgery will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that morbid obesity might have inflicted on their emotional well-being. Ongoing post-surgical support helps product the greatest level of success for their patients.
The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at the Hospital of Saint Raphael holds monthly support group meetings which address the needs of preoperative and postoperative patients. In addition, nutritional support groups and behavioral aftercare lifestyle programs are available on an ongoing basis.
Page last updated on Jul. 06, 2010