Your Hospital Stay

How Long Will My Hospital Stay Be?
Everyone's hospital stay is different, so it is impossible to know beforehand exactly how long you will be in the hospital after your weight loss surgery. What we describe here is a typical patient's hospital stay. Of course, this may not be exactly the same as yours.

When the anesthesia staff feel that you are ready to leave the PACU, or recovery room, you will be transferred up to a regular hospital room. Most patients are not given anything to eat or drink right after their operation, except for a few ice chips to keep your mouth moist.

The First Day After Surgery
Most patients can start the "Stage I" diet on the first day after surgery. Stage I includes low-calorie, noncarbonated clear liquids and jello. If your surgeon feels it is necessary, you may have an upper GI study performed to assess your new stomach pouch. This is similar to a barium swallow: you will be taken down to the Radiology Department and have some X-rays taken after you swallow a small amount of X-ray contrast liquid.

If it has not already been taken out, your urinary catheter will be removed. This does not hurt at all!

Your nurse will encourage you to do 2 things today:

  • Incentive Spirometer: You will be given a breathing exerciser, known officially as an incentive spirometer. This is a small clear plastic device with an indicator inside to let you know how deeply you are breathing. By exercising your lungs with this device you can reduce your chance of getting fevers or pneumonia after surgery.
  • Walking: It is very important to get out of bed and walk, even right after surgery! This will reduce your risk of a blood clot and will help you to take deep breaths.

The Second Day After Surgery
If you were able to tolerate your Stage I diet, you will probably be advanced to the Stage II diet today. This includes everything in the Stage I diet with the addition of pureed foods. Additionally, some soft solid foods like bananas and oatmeal are permitted. It is still critically important to spend as much time out of bed walking as possible, and to diligently use your incentive spirometer!

When you are tolerating your diet well, your surgeon will remove your intravenous line (IV) and switch you over to oral pain medication. Most patients are ready to go home by the middle of the second day after their surgery (so if your surgery was on a Tuesday, you would go home that Thursday).

FAQ Q. Can I be 100% guaranteed that I'll be ready for discharge by postop day #2 or #3?

A. Absolutely not! Remember that the hospital course described above is for patients who have a completely "normal" recovery. If you have major medical problems that require treatment during this time, or if you have complications of surgery, your hospital stay may be substantially longer!

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