Recovering from Surgery
Most patients are admitted to the hospital on the day of surgery. The operation takes about two hours, and the patient is usually placed in a regular hospital room afterward. If special recovery arrangements need to be made, the surgeon and the patient discuss them in advance of surgery.
In the evening following the operation, the patient is usually in a chair or walking with assistance. There is an intravenous catheter in the arm but usually no nose or mouth tubes.
Patients receive complete dietary instructions before leaving the hospital, and they meet again with the dietitian one month later. Should questions or problems arise during that time, or between regularly scheduled visits afterward, the dietitian is available by phone or by clinic appointment.
At discharge most patients are walking and reasonably self-sufficient, although it is advisable to have help at home for a few days. Patients on medications, particularly for diabetes or high blood pressure, should consult with their doctors to be sure that the kinds and amounts of medication are appropriate during the postoperative period.
The long-term follow-up to obesity surgery is extremely important, particularly the proper management of nutrition. For this reason, we require all patients to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor before undergoing surgery.
In the weeks and months following surgery, patients are encouraged to continue to participate in the Obesity Program at Hennepin County Medical Center. The program’s staff helps the participants manage recovery and adjust to changes safely and effectively.
Included among the services available for patients who are about to have obesity surgery or who have had it in the past is the Obesity Surgery Support Group, which meets once a month and is moderated by a registered dietitian. The group provides information, counseling, and a sense of fellowship among those who have already taken or are about to take this decisive step toward successful, permanent weight control – and with it the chance of lasting good health.