FAQ | Bariatric Surgery Commonly asked Questions



I am throwing up.

Vomiting can occur, especially early in the post-op course and especially if you eat too much or too fast or the wrong food. Your pouch is teaching you how to eat. However, any vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours MUST be reported to your surgeon. If you can’t keep liquids down you must call your surgeon or go to the Emergency Room because the risk of dehydration is serious. If you have vomited once or twice and can keep liquids down, sip liquids for 6 to 8 hours until your pouch has settled down and then slowly reintroduce solids.


My staples/stitches are red.

It is common for the skin to be a little red around the staples. If there is widespread redness around the incision, or its hot to the touch, or if you have a fever, or if it is draining odorous and opaque fluid, call the surgeon or go to the Emergency Room.


My incision is leaking a red clearish fluid.

It is common to have a little pinkish fluid drain from the wound and it is not worrisome. If you have a “large” amount, an ounce or more, you should call your surgeon.


I am constipated.

This is fairly common after surgery, especially if you are taking narcotic pain medications. We would recommend milk of magnesia, a tablespoon or two every day, until regular bowel function develops. Other over the counter medications are Senokot tablets and Fleets Enemas. Follow the instructions on the package. If these measures are not effective, call us.


When can I have sex?

When you are comfortable and want to. Be gentle and careful.


When can I swim?

After laparoscopy, you may start as soon as your incisions have healed completely. Soaking in pools and hot tubs is of concern because of the possible contamination of the water and its effect on your incision. For that reason you should wait until your incision is fully healed.


When can I soak in the tub?

When your incision is healing well, with no open areas, and your sutures/staples have been removed, a good soak will feel good. Be careful getting in and out of the tub. If your wound has open areas, wait until your surgeon says it’s OK.


Can I drive?

When you are comfortable moving your feet and arms to control the car, you may drive. If you have any drowsiness from any of your medications, do not drive. Please, wear your seat belt. We would rather repair your incision than your face.


I am nauseated.

I feel sick to my tiny stomach. Nausea may be common after gastric bypass, especially if you eat too fast or too much. That is part of the training your pouch is giving you. However, sometimes pain medications and other medications may also cause this. If your nausea persists or causes vomiting, call us.


I have diarrhea.

If diarrhea lasts longer than 24 hours. Please call us. You will still be susceptible to the various “flu” bugs that everyone else gets, but they shouldn’t last more than 24 hours.


I ate <something> that didn't agree with me.

Usually, that is part of your eating education. You may find some foods that don’t “settle” well. Frequently this is some type of meat. If this occurs, especially if it causes vomiting, back off to liquids for 12-24 hours, then start your diet again. It’s very common to have one type of food, for instance chicken, be very upsetting, yet the next time you try it, it will go well. Some foods that you don’t tolerate early in your recovery, may work well in a few months as your pouch matures.


My incision opened up.

Small gaps, the size of a fingernail may open up. Usually we do nothing about that except to keep some gauze over it. If it is more than that or keeps getting larger, call us.


How long do I have leave these little strips on my belly?

Usually they start falling off after a week. When they start curling up, or a week has passed, you may start pulling them off.


When will the green soapy stuff go away?

Slowly. The antiseptic paint we use is a disgusting green color that doesn’t always come off with soap and water. Usually after a week or so, it will be wearing off.


Why is my incision hard?

That’s part of the normal healing process. Unless you are getting a lot of redness extending out from the incision and increasing pain, the ridge like swelling will slowly go down, but it takes may weeks.


What do I do if I have a fever?

Any fever can be treated with acetominophen (Tylenol). Usually two regular strength tablets (325 mg. each) will be effective for fever relief. Of course, if a fever persists more than 12 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should call us.


Can I take ibuprofen or Aleve for pain during the first six weeks?

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.) and Aleve (naproxen) can be very irritating to a newly constructed pouch and may cause ulcers. We prefer that you do not take this class of medications unless you check with us.


When can I exercise?

You can start walking or riding an exercise bike immediately. You can advance to strengthening exercises once you feel comfortable.

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