Patients discharged from the hospital or surgery center following a duodenal switch procedure will likely receive information about their first follow-up appointment. It is critical to understand this information fully and make it a point to attend the meeting. A driver will need to pick you up from the hospital because it will likely be several weeks before you are clearing to drive a vehicle.
Your doctor will probably supply you with a prescription for pain medication to help cope with the discomfort associated with this procedure. All over-the-counter medications should be discussed with your bariatric surgeon before taking. Some of the medications you were taking before duodenal switch surgery may eventually not be necessary. It’s important always to consult with a healthcare professional before stopping any prescribed medications.
Patients may find that their incision is covered with a gauze dressing, or it may be open to air. The incision should be kept clean and dry. It is commonly advised to avoid baths for approximately three weeks following surgery or until given clearance by your surgeon. Showering with soap and water and patting the incision dry provides adequate cleansing for the surgical site.
Clear or pink drainage from the incision site is not abnormal. A gauze dressing may be used to promote comfort when wearing pants. Foul-smelling yellow, green, or white drainage can be a sign of infection, however. An increased temperature (101 degrees Fahrenheit or above) or redness and warmth surrounding the incision site are also conditions that should be immediately reported the bariatric surgery center.
Activity and Exercise
Post-operative lifting restrictions will be outlined by your surgeon. No lifting greater than 15 pounds for six weeks following surgery is a common guideline. Many patients are anxious to return to work, but it’s advisable to follow the recommendations of your doctor closely. It may be easier to transition back to job duties on a part-time basis at about the fourth week of post-operative status.
Walking is one of the best post-operative exercises following any bariatric procedure. This activity is usually encouraged very soon after the completion of the process. Walking can decrease the risks of complications such as pneumonia. Begin slowly but work to increase the distance and time of walking exercise. Listening to your body is important. If you are feeling actual pain, it’s time to stop.
Hydration is extremely critical when exercising. Perspiration depletes the body of fluid and electrolytes. Always carry a water bottle so you can take sips of water to replenish the fluids you are losing while exercising.
Exercise is an integral part of the weight loss success formula following duodenal switch surgery. It will aid greatly in the process of weight loss, but it has many other benefits including:
- Keeping bones and tissue strong
- Increasing strength and balance
- Boosting energy
- Improving quality of life
There is in-depth information about the requirements of a post-operative diet following this procedure at this site. Vitamin and supplement regimens are a crucial aspect of health following duodenal switch surgery because of the malabsorption component involved. A daily multivitamin and calcium supplements will likely be required for a lifetime. Menstruating females may also be at risk for iron deficiencies and may need iron supplementation. Protein and water, however, are the most important nutrients for the first several months.
Nutritional deficiencies will need to be carefully monitored following a duodenal switch procedure. Lab work and a commitment to adhering to dietary and supplement recommendations are the best tools to avoid this pitfall. Lab work may be ordered at three months, six months, nine months and eventually on an annual basis.
Psychological and Emotional Changes
You need to be prepared for the mental and emotional changes that will likely accompany the physical changes associated with significant weight loss. You will experience many emotions personally as you make this journey and so will the people in your life. Support groups are an excellent resource for education, support, and nutritional advice. A family member may also benefit from these support groups. Journaling and goal-setting are additional positive coping tools.