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Programs and services : Weight-Loss Surgery: FAQ :Post Surgery

Sanford Weight-Loss Surgery


How long should I expect for recovery?

Patients are walking within a few hours of surgery.  Physical activity can be resumed as tolerated and most patient are back to normal activity or have improved mobility within 1-2 weeks of surgery.

If you have a non-strenuous job, you can go back to work within two weeks with the clinic's approval. With a more strenuous job full activity may take an additional 2 weeks.

What can I eat after surgery?

In the first few weeks after surgery you will be on liquids or soft blenderized food.  After 2 weeks diet will be advance to soft solid foods and at one month most patients will tolerate solid food.  Foods that are high in fat or sugar may cause discomfort.

How often do post-surgery patients need to eat a day?

It is recommended that they eat small quantities three to four a day including the recommended protein shake. Not skipping meals and avoiding going more than 5 hours between meals during the day will decrease the return of hunger and avoid low blood sugars.

Are there any foods that cannot be eaten after this operation?

Patients may have certain food intolerances but it varies from patient to patient. Foods that are high in fats and sugar can cause side effects. Starches like bread, rice and pasta will expand and take up more room than expected which can cause discomfort.   If you try something and it does not agree with you, stop eating it and try again in a few weeks.

What happens if I eat too much?

You will feel stuffed; if you continue to eat you will have vomiting. Be sure to stop eating when you are satisfied and not overly full.

Can I drink alcohol after surgery?

After gastric bypass alcohol is absorbed very quickly and ½ of a glass of wine, beer or alcoholic beverage will cause you to be legally drunk in 5-10 minutes. Studies have shown and increased risk of alcoholism after bariatric surgery.  Occasional use a few months after surgery is reasonable.

Can I smoke after surgery?

No! Patients who smoke have a high risk of developing ulcer or strictures in their small stomach. Our goal for surgery is to improve your health, smoking itself will result in complication and increased medical problems.

How much fluid is recommended?

We recommend that you drink 48oz of non-caloric fluid a day after surgery and increase to 64oz within a few months of surgery. Drink small amounts at a time. We recommend drinking between meals in quantities necessary to quench your thirst. Most patients have learned to carry a water bottle and take sips between meals.

Is hair loss common?

Yes. Hair is a product of protein breakdown. Any time you go through rapid weight loss, you can experience hair loss. Interestingly, some patients don't experience this at all. This is a temporary problem. It is usually during the third through the eleventh months after the operation, the period of rapid weight loss. Then it returns to normal. Getting enough protein your diet will help. The B vitamin Biotin in a dose of 3-5 mg per day can also decrease hair loss.

What is the follow-up routine for post-surgery patients?

Usually patients are scheduled for a follow-up office visit 2 weeks and six weeks after surgery.  If patients are doing well at the 6 week visit, follow up will then be at 6, 12, and 18 months after surgery, then annually for a total of 5 years.  If needed, more frequent visits will be scheduled.  At follow up team will review appropriate eating patterns, make sure you are getting the right vitamins and provide you with individual counseling to help you achieve long term success.

Do I have to take vitamins for the rest of my life?

Yes. Surgery reroutes your food's pathway, decreasing nutrient absorption from ingested food; therefore, it is highly recommended.

What vitamins should I take and why?

You should take a multivitamin, Vitamin B12, calcium citrate and some patients will need Iron. Bypass of the upper small intestine decreases absorption of these vitamins.

Do I need to crush my pills?

No. Pills the size of an Aspirin or Tylenol will go down fine. Capsules of all sizes are generally well tolerated. Large calcium pills or multivitamins can be challenging in the first 2 months after surgery.  They can be obtained in liquid, capsule or chewable forms.

What happens if I don't take vitamins?

You can develop vitamin deficiencies, including neurological alterations, skin changes and other metabolic abnormalities. They are difficult to diagnose and may take time to correct. Vitamins, calcium and iron supplements should be taken life long after this operation.

Can I get pregnant and have children after this surgery?

Yes, barring other fertility problems. It is recommended that patients wait at least one year after the operation to get pregnant.


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