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Post-Op Guidelines

For your safety and best results, it’s important to follow the post-op instructions carefully. You can download a copy here or read them below.

Surgery post-op instructions

General Instructions

  • May shower 48 hours after surgery. Just wash incisions with mild soap and water, pat dry. No bandages needed. No tub baths or soaking for two weeks.
  • Avoid heavy lifting for six weeks. OK to lift: babies, a gallon of milk. Avoid lifting over 40 pounds (20 pounds per arm) until six weeks after surgery. Follow the “if it hurts, don’t do it rule.”
  • Exercise: Start with walking right away. Jogging, stationary bike, low-impact aerobics are fine at two weeks, then you can increase as tolerated. Avoid abdominal crunches and weight lifting for six weeks. Follow the “if it hurts, don’t do it rule.”
  • Prescription medications: Resume medications as directed in your discharge instructions. Most pills should go down fine, but you may not be able to take all of them at once.
  • Pain: You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol), 1000mg every eight hours for the first three to five days unless you are already taking pain medicines that contain acetaminophen. For moderate pain that isn’t relieved by the acetaminophen or your usual pain medications, you can use the prescription provided by the bariatric clinic in addition.
  • Acid-reducing medicine for 60 days. We have included omeprazole in your starter kit. Take this or an equivalent for the first 60 days after surgery, then you may stop.
  • Preventing GERD (acid reflux or heart burn). Eat small meals, avoid fatty foods and spicy foods. Do not eat or drink 2 or 3 hours before lying down.
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These are potentially dangerous for Gastric Bypass patients. Examples are: Aspirin and Aspirin containing medicines like Excedrin, BC Powder and Fiorinal. Aleve, Naprosyn, Naproxen, Advil and Motrin (Ibuprofen), Meloxicam (Mobic), Voltaren (Diclofenac), Indocin (Indomethacin). It is OK to take one aspirin per day if directed by a physician or to use any other NSAIDs for no more than one day with two weeks of rest.
  • Over-the-counter medications (such as cold and sinus medications): may be used according to the directions on the packaging.
  • Driving: Try to wait one week. Do not drive if you are taking any of the prescription pain medications we gave you. Avoid long trips for first six weeks. If you do take a trip longer than one hour, you need to stop and walk at least every hour.
  • Returning to work: The general recommendation is to wait one week for Lap-Band®, two weeks for Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy or Switch, but if you feel ready to return sooner, that is fine.
  • Attend support groups and nutrition classes. Check with office for times.
  • No tobacco or nicotine products. This is a lifelong rule.
  • Call the office number with questions or concerns, including after hours if you think it is an emergency. A doctor is always on call. Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you have to, but usually it is best to try calling us first.

Vitamins - start one week after surgery

It’s required for all bariatric patients to start taking vitamins regularly after surgery. The type of vitamins you should take depends on your procedure. See below for the vitamin options by procedure.

Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy

The vitamin options for Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy patients are below. If you have questions, our staff can help you decide which option is best for you.

  • BariLife Complete Tablets - six tablets daily (three in the morning and three in the evening or two in the morning, two around lunch time and two in the evening)
  • BariLife Multivitamin Powder - two scoops/daily (one in the morning and one at night)
  • BariLife “Just One” Multivitamin with Iron - one per day and three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewables
  • Bariatric Advantage Multivitamin. one per day and 30-45 mg iron and three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewables
  • Bariatric Advantage Ultra Solo with Iron. One per day and three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewables

Duodenal Switch (SADI-S or BPD/DS or DS)

The vitamin options for Duodenal Switch patients are below. If you have questions, our staff can help you decide which option is best for you.

  • BariLife Complete Tablets - eight per day (instead of six), three or four different times (three at breakfast, two at lunch, two dinner or two at breakfast, two at lunch, two at dinner and two at bedtime)
  • BariLife Multivitamin Powder - three scoops per day, three different times (breakfast, lunch dinner)
  • BariLife “Just One” Multivitamin with iron – one twice per day, and three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewable (or equivalent Calcium)
  • Bariatric Advantage High ADEK Multivitamin – One twice per day, and 45-60 mg iron, and three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewable

Lap-Band®

The vitamin options for Lap-Band® patients are below. If you have questions, our staff can help you decide which option is best for you.

  • BariLife Complete Tablets - three tablets/daily (spaced throughout the day)
  • BariLife Multivitamin Powder - one scoop daily
  • BariLife “Just One” – one per day, plus three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewable
  • Bariatric Advantage Ultra Solo with Iron – one per day and three 500mg Calcium Citrate chewables

Diet instructions

First two weeks after surgery

Liquids or pureed consistency diet, no carbonation

  • If it can go through a straw, or even a little thicker, it's OK (but don’t actually use a straw, because this can make you drink too fast and cause discomfort).
    • Examples: Broth, cream soups, yogurt, pudding, thin mashed potatoes, thin cream of wheat or malt-o-meal (no oatmeal for now), Sugar-free Carnation Instant Breakfast, Atkins Shakes, jello, coffee, tea, milk or low-fat, low-sugar protein drinks, like Isopure or Bariatric Advantage.
  • You can put food in a blender or food processor to make puree if you want.
  • Drink enough fluids. Drink small amounts frequently. Work up to 64 ounces per day of sugar free liquids (water, tea, Crystal Lite, etc.) It might be a few weeks before you can manage 64 ounces.

After two weeks

Regular food, no carbonation, no liquid calories

Do not drink with your meals

  • Eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, limited starches, limited cheeses, limited fatty foods. Avoid fast food, junk food, chips, dressings, dips, ice cream, and soon. You should generally be eating the same foods as anyone else should, only much smaller amounts. Low fat and low sugar is your goal. There may be some things you have trouble with, such as oatmeal, breads, and dryer, tougher meats.
  • No liquid calories means: When you drink something, it should be sugar-free or sweetened with artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Sweet-N-Low and Nutra-Sweet. Examples: Water, unsweet tea, tea with Splenda, Crystal Lite, black coffee or coffee with artificial sweeteners.
  • Protein bars and protein drinks are good ways to help reach your protein goals, especially if you are not getting enough protein from food. They should have no more than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Vitamins. Don’t forget that is a lifelong requirement. See the list of vitamin options for your type of surgery.
  • Fiber. As soon as you are tolerating solid foods, add a fiber supplement such as Metamucil, Citrucel, Benefiber, FiberCon (or store brands), fiber gummies. This will help with regularity of bowel movements and help avoid constipation and irritable bowel symptoms.

The reason we say not to drink with your meals, is to help you stay full on less food but also to avoid regurgitation and reflux. When people eat a little, then drink a little, they tend to wash more food down. The other reason not to drink with meals is that some people can get full too fast and get sick with pain, nausea, reflux or regurgitation.

Frequently asked questions

For most people, it doesn’t feel good, and it can possibly stretch the “pouch.”

For Lap-Band®, Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy at least 60 grams per day. For Switch and SADI-S, at least 80 grams per day.

In moderation, alcohol is OK.12 ounces of beer, six ounces of wine or two ounces of liquor per day is considered “moderate.” Remember that alcohol has calories, so the more you drink, the less weight you are likely to lose. Alcohol is absorbed more quickly after gastric surgery, so you have to be strict about no alcohol and driving, operating machinery, etc.

No tobacco or nicotine products ever.

The true risks of inhaling or ingesting are unknown, and we advise against all forms.

One to two pounds per week is enough. Losing faster than this is OK as long as you are getting in protein three times per day and are not having frequent vomiting.

Wait one week. As for exercise and lifting, follow the “if it hurts, don’t do it” rule, and wait another week to try again for any activity that causes pain.

Most people can return to work within one to three weeks. If your job requires heavy lifting or is very physical, you may need to wait four to six weeks. It depends on the person and the job.

It depends. Many insurance plans cover surgery, but only if you have documentation of physician supervised weight-loss efforts, including an exercise program and visits with a physician and a dietitian or nutritionist. The sooner you begin documenting these, the better chance of your insurance covering the surgery. Our staff is here to help you with this as well.

It is our protocol to discharge patients one to two nights after surgery, except for Lap-Band® which is usually done as an outpatient surgery.

Minimum age is 13. We do not have a fixed upper limit for age and perform surgery on carefully selected patients into their seventies.

We offer private-pay options. You can find our pricing information here.

Yes. Patients are advised not to get pregnant for at least one year following bariatric surgery and not before weight has been stable for at least two months.