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Bariatric Surgery Center

My Weight Is Over: What to Expect From Weight Loss Surgery

We understand that surgery of any kind can seem daunting, but we are here for you every step of the way. Our St. Vincent's Medical Center weight loss surgeons will do everything in our power to make you as comfortable as possible and keep you safe throughout your stay.

To help put your mind at ease, we've listed some details of  what you can expect the day of, and immediately following your weight-loss surgery.

  • You will be admitted to the hospital on the day of your surgery.
  • After completing some paperwork in the admitting office, you will be directed to the main operating rooms on level 3. Your relatives will be allowed to stay with you until you are called into the operating room.
  • In the pre-op area, you will receive a special gown and stockings. An IV will be placed in your hand or arm in order to start intravenous fluids and administer antibiotics. You will also receive an injection under your skin to help prevent blood clots.
  • You will then wait to enter the Operating Room. The time of surgery that you have been given is only an estimate. All surgeries take as long as necessary to provide the best results, which could sometimes result in a delay of several hours. We understand you may be anxious, and we will do our best to make you comfortable. Please remember that when you are the patient in the operating room, the surgeon will take as much time and care as necessary to successfully complete your procedure.
  • A nurse will interview you and instruct you on how to use an incentive spirometer. This device is used to help expand your lungs and prevent pneumonia.
  • The anesthesiologist will interview and examine you.
  • When it is time to bring you into the operating room, your relatives will be instructed to wait in the waiting area, or main lobby of the hospital. They will also be provided with an in-house beeper, if they should choose to go to the cafeteria.
  • You will be escorted to the OR by the operating room nurse, or taken by wheelchair or stretcher if you are unable to walk.
  • You will be asked to move onto the OR table and given medications to help calm you and make you sleepy. You will see the equipment and instruments in the operating room.
  • At this time the anesthesiologist staff will place some sticky pads on your chest to monitor your heartbeat. An oxygen mask will be placed on your face and anesthesia will then be administered through your IV.

The next steps occur once you are asleep:

  • A tube is placed in your airway to provide your heart and brain with oxygen since your lungs fall asleep.
  • A catheter is placed into your urinary bladder. No drains or catheters are placed for the Gastric Bandingprocedure.
  • The surgery begins. It may last between 45 minute to 5 hours. The OR will notify your relatives when the surgery begins, and update them as it proceeds. The surgeon will speak with your family in the waiting room when the procedure is finished.
  • You will wake from surgery in the recovery room.You may not remember anything.You may not remember talking to your doctor in the recovery room.
  • After surgery you will remain in the recovery room for 1-4 hours. You might experience some nausea and/or pain. This is common.
  • When you wake up in the recovery room you may see drains protruding from your belly if you had the Gastric Bypass or Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. These will be removed before you go home.
  • After a short stay in the recovery room you will be transferred to the Medical Center level 10 where you will stay until you are discharged. You will be asked to sit up in a chair and perform deep breathing exercises with an incentive spirometer.
  • The day of, or after surgery you will be started on small sips of water, not to exceed more than a few tablespoons (30cc) an hour. You will be given small cups to show you how much to drink within a 15 minute period.
  • You will be asked to stand up and try to walk. It is imperative that you begin walking as soon as possible in order to prevent blood clots.
  • If you tolerate the sips of water the day after surgery, your diet will advance accordingly in the following days. On average, our patients remain in the hospital 1 day after the Gastric Banding procedure, and 2-3 days following the Gastric Bypas or Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure.
  • Once your surgeon is satisfied that your digestive system is functioning properly, your diet will be advanced to a clear liquid diet, and you will be discharged. The drains and catheters will be removed before you leave the hospital. However, if needed, your belly drains may remain for up to 1 week and be removed in the doctor's office.
  • Once you're home, it is important that you follow the instructions you've been given.You may be ordered to take a Pepcid® 20 mg by mouth every day. We may provide you with a pain medication prescription, which you should take only when you have severe pain.
  • You may feel very tired and may need lots of help during your first week at home. You should have a friend or family member stay with you for 1 - 2 weeks. Estimate that you will be out of work for at least 3 - 4 weeks following a Gastric Bypass and sleeve Gastrectomy, and 2 weeks following the Gastric banding® Procedure.
  • You should already have made an appointment to see your bariatric surgeon within 7 - 10 days following surgery. If you have not, please call your surgeons' office to schedule your visit as soon as possible.
  • Please do not hesitate to contact the surgeons' office with any questions or difficulties you may be experiencing. One of the surgeons is available at all times.

View our Bariatric Surgery Success Stories and learn more about how St. Vincent's Medical Center can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.

Call us to learn more: 877-255-7847

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