Will I have to spend the night in the hospital?

Typically, yes, you will spend one to two nights in the hospital.  To be discharged home, you must be tolerating full liquids, walking (or at your baseline level of activity), and your pain must be controlled on oral medications.

How long will I be off work after my procedure?

Most patients will be off work from 2-4 weeks after surgery.  I generally recommend taking off at least two weeks, as during that time period you will be on a liquid diet and your energy level may be low.  If your job requires you to be physically active, four weeks off may be better.

Can I have laparoscopic surgery if I have had open abdominal operations in the past?

For most people the answer is ‘yes’. Many patients who have had hysterectomies, C-sections, gallbladder removals, and other operations with open incisions can still have safe laparoscopic procedures.  Extensive hernia or intestinal operations may make a laparoscopic approach more difficult. Ultimately your surgeon will discuss with you if it is safe and appropriate to perform your operation laparoscopically.

How often will I have to come to the office for followup appointments after surgery?

In the first year after surgery, followup appointments are more frequent to monitor for any issues you may have after surgery and to monitor vitamin levels. Typical follow-up appointments after surgery are scheduled for 2 weeks, one month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, and then annually.

When can I exercise after surgery?

You may start walking short distances immediately after surgery. Gradually increase your pace and distance each day. You may go up and down stairs, as long as you are steady on your feet. No lifting greater than 10 pounds, no abdominal exercises, and no swimming until released by Dr. Hafford. Increase your physical activity as tolerated. The level of exercise tolerated varies between patients. Generally, you should try to do more each day until you are doing 20-30 minutes of brisk activity 5 times per week. If an activity causes pain, stop what you are doing and rest. For those with painful osteoarthritis, once cleared by your physician, water aerobics is an alternative for exercise. You may resume driving once you are no longer taking prescriptions pain medication

When can I have sex?

You can generally return to routine sexual intimacy when the healing process and declining discomfort of surgery allows. It is highly recommended that women of child bearing age use an effective form of birth control and do not become pregnant for 12-18 months after surgery, even if you have had difficulty becoming pregnant in the past (unless you have had a hysterectomy or tubal ligation). Rapid weight loss increases fertility. Pregnancy during the first 12 months post-operatively could cause nutritional deficiencies for you and your baby.

Will I lose my hair after surgery?

Around 3-6 months after surgery some patients notice an increase in hair loss. The hair loss is self limited (not permanent), and your hair will return to its normal thickness over time. Continue to take vitamins and increase protein consumption, as directed by your physician. Some patients find that Biotin and other hair/nail complex vitamins help slow hair shedding. These can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies.

Will I have a lot of loose skin after I lose weight?

With significant weight loss there is usually excess skin. The amount varies based on the amount of weight you lose, where you lose it, age, sex, and genetics. Weight training may help minimize the appearance and improve toning, but for many plastic surgery may be needed. Discuss with your physician if you are interested in plastic surgery.