What to Expect After Surgery

Our surgical team here at Texas Laparoscopic Consultants, a partner of Nobilis Health, will give you detailed post-operative instructions and talk with you about what you can expect after your surgery. Here is a brief overview of post-operative details for a number of different procedures.

Pain Control

Immediately after surgery there is a moderate amount of discomfort. You will be given pain medicine by your nurse through your IV. We cannot remove all of the pain post-operatively but we will try to keep you as comfortable as possible. Tell your nurses and physician if you are having pain, particularly if it keeps you from moving, taking deep breaths, or feeling comfortable. Everyone is different, so keeping your nurses informed about how you feel will help them help you.


With the help of your nurse, you should sit up and dangle your feet the night of surgery and stand at your bedside. If your surgery was in the early part of the day, you will be asked to get out of bed and walk. Starting the first day after surgery, you will be required to walk at least three to four times per day and to do your leg and breathing exercises hourly. Walking is extremely important for the prevention of blood clots.

Adjustable Gastric Band

After adjustable gastric banding surgery, a set of x-rays called an Esophagram will be performed so we can see how well fluid is passing through the new Band. You will need to drink a special liquid before the x-rays. Once the pictures are reviewed, you will be started on liquids and protein drinks in preparation for your discharge from the hospital.

Gastric Bypass

Following gastric bypass surgery, your stomach will need a few days to properly heal. You can drink water one day after surgery, sugar-free clear liquids on the second day after surgery, and protein drinks on day three. Patients are doing well with no signs of complications can often go home the second day after surgery and begin drinking protein beverages the following day. You will likely not feel very hungry during the first week after surgery, which is normal and may last a few weeks. But you should be sure to keep drinking water and consuming protein to help in healing and prevent dehydration.

Abdominal Drainage Tube

Gastric bypass patients will be fitted with an abdominal drainage tube after surgery to help drain fluid and check for leaks. Patients who have laparoscopic surgery will have the tube removed on the day of your discharge.

Urinary/Bowel Movements

For patients who have gastric bypass surgery, a foley catheter will be placed in the bladder for one day to drain urine. Patients will likely not have a bowel movement for a few days following the surgery.

Exercises that Speed Up Recovery

Exercising your feet and legs, turning in bed, and deep breathing routines are some of the activities you will be asked to perform to enhance your recovery. Coughing and deep breathing will loosen any secretions in your lungs or throat and help to prevent the development of pneumonia. Plus, deep breathing exercises increase circulation and helps to eliminate anesthesia.

The following steps detail the proper way to deep breathe and cough after your surgery:

  • Inhale as deeply as possible
  • Hold breath for two seconds
  • Fully exhale
  • Repeat the above steps three times
  • Inhale deeply
  • Hold breath for two seconds
  • Cough. The cough should come from the abdomen, not from your throat. Hold a pillow on your abdomen for support

To promote good circulation, you will need to exercise your feet and legs. The following steps should be undertaken:

  • Push the toes of each foot towards the end of the bed (like pushing down on a gas pedal)
  • Pull the toes toward the head of your bed, then relax
  • Make circles with the ankles, to the right, then the left
  • Repeat these steps three times

Please repeat these exercises at least once each hour following your surgery. To increase the function and agility of your lungs, it’s also a good idea to begin practicing these exercises before your scheduled surgery.

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