Taking Care after Bariatric Surgery
Needless to say, that first choice for losing extra body weight must be exercise, dietary measures, and non-invasive strategies like using abdominal binders. However, in extreme obesity, in the presence of another health issue, surgical treatment remains the only option.
There are many surgical options, from laparoscopic to open surgery. These days, laparoscopic surgery is more common, in which operation is done through small holes in the abdominal wall. However, many would need open surgery, especially when grossly overweight, or having other surgical problem along with obesity (e.g., Gallstones).
Depending on the kind of surgery, recovery time may be from a couple of days to a week in most cases. However, care of abdominal wall must be taken for much longer. It takes several weeks for the abdominal wall to regain former strength.
Here are few tips for faster and safer recovery at home:
- Keep in touch with your doctor- you would need to visit the surgeon’s office regularly. The surgeon can only say if healing is going well and if there is no infection or other complications.
- Avoid certain activities:
- Do not lift heavy objects at home or do physically demanding tasks.
- Keep changing positions, do not sit or stand at one place for long. Stay adequately active to avoid blood clots forming in the legs.
- Even when doing day to day tasks, do not forget to wear protective, supportive, bariatric abdominal binders.
- Activities to speed up healing- to regain your strength fast, it is essential that you start walking as early as the situation allows. However, start with smaller distances, gradually increasing the walking distance.
- Stay hydrated- after surgery; you feel weak, keep drinking enough fluid to recover faster.
- If you had gastric bypass surgery, then follow gastric bypass diet.
- Take care of surgical wound- do not touch the wound, get surgical sutures or staples removed as per recommendation. Wearing an abdominal binder is a good idea, as it would help reduce stress on the wound. Abdominal belts are also known to promote the healing processes.
Despite all the care, it is not rare to have post-surgical complications. Thus you must know about some of the serious signs like:
- Pain and swelling at the site or incision or pus-like drainage.
- Rise in body temperature
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and recurrent vomiting for several hours
- Pain or redness in the legs
- Medications failing to relieve pain
However, it is essential to understand that moderate swelling and pain is normal. Sometimes you may also get itching sensation at the sight of surgery.
Why abdominal binders are necessary for the recovery period
Although surgical wound may heal in a week, it takes much longer for the body to regain full strength. It means that there is a need to follow dietary measures for long. Need to take care of the abdominal wall for at least three months.
Yes, research shows that three months are needed for the wound to heal completely. During this period heavy work must be avoided. Abdominal binders may help prevent complications during this period. Though one may not need to wear them all the time, it is recommended to wear them most of the time when doing physical tasks.
Finally, remember that bariatric abdominal binders can be worn for much longer. Even after the wound has healed, these binders would help keep abdomen tight. Once a person starts losing body weight, lose tummy skin becomes a problem, an abdominal support belt can help with the condition.