Many people gather information to prepare for lap-band surgery. However, the surgery is just part of the weight loss protocol. In order to reduce discomfort and complications and to sustain weight loss over the long-term, proper post-operative care is needed. Therefore, it’s important to know what to expect after the surgery, especially if you’re flying back home.
It’s a good idea to obtain prescriptions for the medications beforehand, while you’re still at home.
That way, you don’t have to worry about getting them later and you will be able to discuss with your doctor if a specific medication is not available in your country. Typical medications include medication for nausea, pain, and flatulence.
Your doctor or nurse may place a patch behind your ear before the surgery to avoid nausea. If you still feel nausea after waking up from the surgery, inform your doctor or a nurse right away. After the surgery, you’ll need to get up and walk in order to avoid the risk of pneumonia and blood clots. Your doctor will give you precise instructions on when you can start to move, and how often. If you feel any discomfort, it’s better to resort to simple measures like ingesting warm tea and broth.
When you get out of the hospital, you’ll need to follow a strict diet. The first days you should limit yourself to a clear liquid diet, with items such as broth, apple juice, gelatin, protein drinks, tea, and water. Your doctor will give you instructions on when you can upgrade to soft food and eventually solid food. Also, you may feel hungry for a few days after the surgery. This is normal. Inform your doctor if your hunger lasts longer than 5 days.
Since you’ll be resting for a while, it’s also a good idea to prepare beforehand and obtain something to amuse yourself with and distract your mind. We suggest a tablet with games, some good books, some DVDs, a heating pad, and a laptop.
Sleeping may be an issue for the first few nights, since you won’t be able to sleep on the side where your port will be located. You’ll have to maintain discipline, even resorting to practicing beforehand so that you sleep on your other side or your back without accidentally rolling to the other side. Getting up from bed is a bit painful for some people and may put some strain on the incisions, so you should be very careful. Some patients choose to sleep on a reclining chair in order to make it easier to get up.
You won’t be spending the whole time resting. You’ll have to take short walks to keep your body strong. Your doctor will give you very specific instructions on the length and frequency of the walks. As a general rule, exercise should not be strenuous.
It may take a whole week to start to feel normal or with very little discomfort and pain, so don’t despair. If you have been following the directions of your doctor, your appetite will come back (although it’ll take less food to make you feel full), and your body will feel healthy. Once this week is over, you’ll find that following the diet and exercise is much easier, and you’ll be seeing slow, but constant (and permanent!) weight loss.