Obesity FAQs

Benefits of Bariatric surgery

Who does Bariatric Surgery help

What Can be Expected After Undergoing a Procedure at NWLS

Pre op & Post Op Diets

Difference between Gastric Sleeve & Bypass

Q: When can I remove my dressing?

A: At 7 days post-surgery unless you are concerned that the wound is wet or infected then you should call the clinic if that is the case.

Q: When can I drive post-surgery?

A: At a minimum 24 hour post the anaesthetic. You must be able to undertake all normal movements and be in a fit state to drive.

Q: Will I have to stay in the hospital for a long time?

A: In general, patients stay 2 nights in hospital, some people only stay one night. It would be very rare to stay any longer than that as surgery is performed via minimally invasive keyhole surgery.

Q: How long will I be out of work after the procedure?

A: In general terms people can go back to work after a week or two. For those doing heavy lifting, they should not undertake heavy lifting for at least 4 weeks post-surgery. Dr Dhan will discuss your case with you.

Q: Will I have a lot of pain?

A: There is only the minimal pain associated with the incisions. Dr Dhan uses a very tightly controlled oral analgesic pain regime post operatively and you will be very comfortable on discharge.

Q: Is there any difficulty in taking medications?

In general terms, no you should be able to take all your normal medications. In a small number of cases including gastric bypass, or cases in which Dr Dhan advises, you may have to take liquid or crushed medications.

Q: Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?

A: Yes, you can but you should wait at least 12 to 18 months post-surgery as the weight loss will affect the baby. You need to be very careful in that period not to fall pregnant.

Q: When can I start exercising post-surgery?

A: In the first four weeks post-surgery your body is still recovering from the surgery, so it is best to start slowly. Try walking and gradually aim for 30min each day. But any other activity apart from that should be left for four weeks.

Q: Should I count calories bariatric post-surgery?

A: No! Trusting in your appetite and focusing on quality of food is more important rather than number of calories you are eating each day. You have not had a sleeve to continue to diet.

Q: Can I eat the same as my family?

A: Yes! After Bariatric Surgery you should be able to eat most foods. A few things to consider:

  • Your portions will be smaller (entrée plate, rather than a dinner plate).
  • Your focus should be on the protein and veg/salad portions of the meal, rather than the grains. Eg: if your family is having a stir fry, you should eat mostly the meat and veg and have less rice.
  • Keep the “sometimes” foods to minimal and nourish your body with the important foods containing protein (lean meats), vitamin and minerals (veg and salad).

Q: How long does it take before I am eating normal foods again?

A: Usually you will be eating most foods about 4 weeks after your sleeve. The timeline varies from person to person but you will be monitored closely by Dr Dhan and your Dietitian as per progression of your diet. There are some foods that are harder to eat than others: Eg: steak, pork, dry chicken, raw carrots or lettuce (~ week 8 you should be able to eat all of these). The key is to chew thoroughly, eat slowly and stop when you feel full.

Q: Why is my hair falling out?

A: It is common for people to have their hair thin out after weight loss surgery. The surgery itself as well as the rapid weight loss is a big stress on the body. But do not worry – it will not continue forever and as soon as your weight loss slows down and stabilises it should start to grow back.

Q: Will I suffer from constipation?

A: Yes you may, it is important to ensure that your fluid intake is adequate and Dr Dhan will prescribe Lactulose which you will take post-surgery.

Q: What is Dumping Syndrome?

A: Dumping syndrome is the uncomfortable feeling of diarrhoea, upset stomach, dizziness and nausea that are associated with eating sugary foods and is commonly a symptom after a gastric by-pass. Whilst not so common after a sleeve, it can still happen. Foods that usually set off “dumping” are dairy products, high calorie liquids or sweets. The best way to avoid the symptoms is to avoid eating these foods in the first instance, but if you are worried, chat with your Dietitian.

There are options for treatment.

Q: I’m having trouble drinking water, is there anything I can do to increase my water intake?

A: Keeping hydrated after surgery is important. If you are finding that water sits heavier, or you are struggling with getting enough water in across the day try the following tips:

  • Sip on small amounts of water regularly, rather than trying to drink ¼ - 1 cup at a time
  • Set reminders on your phone to encourage you to drink at regular times throughout the day
  • Try adding a small amount of diet cordial, lemon or mint into your water to flavour it
  • Buy a drink bottle that has timers marked down the side of the drink bottle to remind you to sip on your water regularly
  • Make sure you are separating your foods and water by at least 30 minutes to make sure you are giving yourself more of an opportunity to stay hydrated

Q: Why do I have to use Optifast® before surgery and how long do I have to do it for?

A: Prior to surgery we recommend that you follow an Optifast® very low-calorie diet (VLCD). We recommend Optifast® because it has been scientifically proven to shrink the liver by up to 25%, which helps to make the surgery easier and safer for you and means a lower risk of complications.

For the best results you should use the Optifast® for 2-4weeks before your surgery. This means replacing at least three meals per day with an Optifast® product, consuming at least two cups of low carbohydrate vegetables (excluding potato, sweet potato and corn) and staying hydrated. Your dietitian will provide you with a handout that contains a list of all the vegetables you can include during this stage.

Q: Do I have to use Optifast® or can I use another VLCD meal replacement product?

A: We recommend Optifast® over other very low-calorie diet (VLCD) meal replacement products as it has been scientifically proven to shrink your liver prior to surgery and when consumed with the two cups of low carbohydrate vegetables provides you with the vitamins, minerals and fibre that your body needs.

It is important to make sure that you follow the Optifast® diet closely to ensure that you get the best results prior to your surgery.

Q: How much weight loss should I expect after surgery?

A: In general, you can expect to lose about 65% of their excess weight over the first 12 months. However, this varies from patient to patient. We very much emphasise that you follow our dietitians’ instructions as they are the key to helping you post-surgery in your weight loss. You can also maximise this weight loss by undertaking the exercise which we will also prescribe. We expect you to lose at least 1 to 2 kilograms per week. If there are concerns around your weight you can make another appointment to see the dietitian or Dr Dhan.