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Please review our frequently asked questions listed below. If your question has not been addressed, please ask the surgeon.
Which procedure should I have?
We believe after researching on their own and attending a seminar, most patients have an idea of which procedure will work best for them. Some individuals are not comfortable with the idea of a foreign body being placed, so they know they prefer not to have a band. Some individuals are not comfortable with having a portion of their intestine bypassed, so they choose to have a band. A procedure, called vertical sleeve gastrectomy, may represent the best of both worlds for patients who want restriction but without the need for multiple adjustments as with a gastric band.
Will I have a drain after my gastric bypass?
The answer is it depends. The decision to place a drain during surgery is made by the individual surgeon. If you do have a drain placed at the time of surgery, it may be removed either prior to discharge from the hospital or at your first follow up appointment. While some may view having a drain as an inconvenience, it is generally not painful. If needed, the nurses will show you how to empty the drain and change the dressing prior to going home.
What is “dumping syndrome?”
Eating simple sugars (such as sugar, honey, and corn syrup) or high-fat foods can cause dumping syndrome in patients who have had gastric bypass surgery. This occurs when these products, which have a small particle size, are “dumped” from the stomach into the intestine at a rapid rate. Water is pulled into the intestine from the bloodstream to dilute the sugar load. This flush of water causes symptoms that can include diarrhea, rapid heart rate, hot flashes or sweating and clammy skin, and dizziness.
How long before I can return to work?
The answer to this question is also, it depends. It depends on the procedure you have and the type of work that you do. If you have a relatively sedentary job and do not do a lot of heavy lifting (greater than twenty pounds), you are usually able to return to work within a couple of weeks of surgery. If you have a more physical job, then you may need to be off as long as 4-6 weeks.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Discharge from the hospital is individualized to how you are doing. In general, our gastric band patients go home the day of surgery.
Sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass patients will go home within two to three days of surgery.
Duodenal switch patients will go home within three to four days of surgery.
When can I take a tub bath or get in the pool?
You may shower within a couple of days of surgery; however, we prefer you do not take a tub bath or get in the pool until your incisions have healed and any drain sites have closed. This is usually after your one week follow up visit.
When can I drive?
You may resume driving once you have been off all narcotic pain medication for 24 hours. Keep in mind that for the first week or so after surgery, you may still feel pretty sore across the abdomen and that may impede your ability to brake quickly or suddenly.
What will my lifting limitations be after surgery?
After laparoscopic surgery, you are typically able to return to your normal activities within two weeks; prior to that time, we recommend you do not lift more than twenty pounds.