Post-Surgery Questions

How soon can I return to work?

This differs widely on the procedure that has been performed and physical nature of your occupation. Most patients find they can return to a sedentary job 10 days to 2 weeks after surgery however your doctor will advise you on how soon you can return to work. Jobs which require a lot of exertion or heavy lifting will have different return to work times.

Will I be able to tolerate the pain post-operatively?

Each patient will tolerate pain post-operatively in a different way. While some patients may describe the pain as an ache, others experience greater discomfort. Pain medications are prescribed after surgery which can help minimize discomfort.

When can I resume regular exercise?

The time a patient resumes regular exercises varies based on the operation performed. All patients are encouraged to start a slow walking routine on the second postoperative day. More vigorous activities are advised against during the first 2 weeks in order to decrease the risks of bleeding, swelling and bruising.

I have been feeling very tired since my operation, is this normal?

Yes, you can expect to feel tired for at least the first 4-6 weeks following surgery, especially after a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy procedure. Ensure that you are taking your multivitamins daily and if possible, a rest in the afternoons my help. Energy levels should improve by 6 weeks after surgery.

Will I become constipated after surgery?

It can be common to suffer from constipation after weight loss surgery due to the use of pain relief medication immediately following surgery coupled with a reduced food and fluid intake. Patients generally find the frequency of bowel habits reduced, which is not a concern if they are comfortable and easy to pass. However if symptoms of discomfort and bloating are present, it is generally advised to take a mild laxative such as Benefibre™.

I think I am eating too much?

The use of a hunger/satiety scale can be an excellent tool to guide meal timing and portion size. Prior to, and during eating think of a scale between 1 to 10 – 1 being ravenously hungry and 10 being absolutely stuffed. Aim to commence eating when you are a 3 – hungry, and try to stop eating when you reach a 5-neutral, or a 6-satisfied. This will help you avoid over-eating and eating in the absences of hunger. Please contact our dietitian if you require further advice.

How do the patients who lose the most weight differ from those who don’t?

After operations such as sleeve gastrectomy, roux-en-y gastric bypass and mini gastric bypass, almost all patients lose a terrific amount of weight. This weight loss is easiest in the early stages (first one to two years) after surgery. The preparation for surgery, the excitement of an operation and the intensive follow up over the first few months all combine with the operation itself and result in rapid, exciting weight loss and an improvement in health.

None of the operations allow this rapid weight loss to continue forever! This is obviously a good thing – if they did you would shrink away to nothing. The human body adapts over time. Gastric pouches can stretch, hormones continue to change and the absorption of the gut evolves. Some of this is beneficial, but sometimes this can result in weight regain.

In light of this it is important for those patients who want to maintain a low baseline weight to add something to the process. Patients who do well need to make some minor but important life changes to keep the weight off. We encourage all patients to be really involved in their healthcare and contribute positively and usually we are successful in doing so. We find patients are keen to be involved using the tools and the information we can supply them. Part of this means making your health a priority, thinking about your actions and trying to make conscious healthy choices (most of the time). Of course to do that you need to know WHAT IS RIGHT. We find a lot of people have been mis-educated and are doing themselves harm but thinking they are doing the right thing.

One of the factors we think is MOST important (and this is confirmed by our weight loss data) is regular consultations with our dietitian. Our dietitian will help you with education (one of the most important things), self-assessment, making the right food choices, tricks and tips, improving bad symptoms and helping understand and control your urges. She will help you identify those things you are doing really well and those things, which are bringing you undone (which often patients didn’t even realise). We have seen time and time again how effective these consultations are.

This is one of the reasons why, at Melbourne Weight Loss Surgery, we emphasize the importance of postoperative follow up with the entire team, including the surgeons and the dietitian, and also instilling a lifelong exercise program. Our current package encourages all patients to have extensive follow up by including free postoperative reviews with their surgeon and dietitian for TWO YEARS. This makes us substantially different from a lot of other groups and is one of the reasons the weight loss in our patients is so good.