Bariatric Surgery and Hospital Stay
Does laparoscopic surgery decrease the risk?
No. Laparoscopic weight loss surgery operations carry the same risk as the procedure performed as an open operation. The benefits of laparoscopy are typically less discomfort, shorter hospital stay, earlier return to work and reduced scarring.
Will I have a lot of pain?
Every attempt is made to control pain after bariatric surgery to make it possible for you to move about quickly and become active. This helps avoid problems and speeds recovery. Often, several drugs are used in combination to help manage your post-surgery pain. While you are still in the hospital, a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA), which allows you to give yourself a dose of pain medicine on demand, may be used by your physician. Various methods of pain control, depending on your type of surgical procedure, are available. Ask your surgeon about other pain management options.
What is done to minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism or DVT/PE?
Because a DVT originates on the operating table, therapy begins before a patient goes to the operating room. Generally, patients are treated with sequential leg compression stockings and given a blood thinner prior to surgery. Both of these therapies continue throughout your hospitalization. The third major preventive measure involves getting the patient moving and out of bed as soon as possible after the operation to restore normal blood flow in the legs.
How long do I have to stay in the hospital?
As long as it takes to be self-sufficient. Although it can vary, the hospital stay (including the day of surgery) can be 1-2 days for a laparoscopic band, 2-3 days for a laparoscopic gastric bypass, and 5-7 days for an open gastric bypass.
Will the doctor leave a drain in after surgery?
Most patients will have a small tube to allow drainage of any accumulated fluids from the abdomen. This is a safety measure, and it is usually removed a few days after the surgery. Generally, it produces no more than minor discomfort.
If I have surgery, what can I expect when I wake up in the recovery room?
Some doctors will provide a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA), or a self-administered pain management system, to help control pain. Others prefer to use an infusion pump that provides a local anesthetic in the surgical site to control pain without the side effects of narcotics. As with any major surgery, you are at risk for death from a blood clot or other surgical side effects. Statistically, the risk of death during these procedures is less than one percent. Your doctors will have assessed you for risks and prepared accordingly.
All abdominal operations carry the risks of bleeding, infection in the incision, thrombophlebitis of legs (blood clots), lung problems (pneumonia, pulmonary embolisms), strokes or heart attacks, anesthetic complications, and blockage or obstruction of the intestine. These risks are greater in morbidly obese patients.
How soon will I be able to walk?
Almost immediately after surgery doctors will require you to get up and move about. Patients are asked to walk or stand at the bedside on the night of surgery and take several walks the next day and thereafter. On leaving the hospital, you may be able to care for all your personal needs, but will need help with shopping, lifting and transportation.
How soon can I drive?
For your own safety, you should not drive until you have stopped taking narcotic medications and can move quickly and alertly to stop your car, especially in an emergency. Usually, this will be 7-14 days after surgery.
What should I bring with me to the hospital?
Basic toiletries (comb, toothbrush, etc.) and clothing may be provided by the hospital, but most people prefer to bring their own. Choose clothes for your stay that are easy to put on and take off. Because of your incision, your clothes may become stained by blood or other body fluids. Other ideas:
- Reading and writing materials
- Crossword and other puzzles
- Personal toiletries