The Importance of Postoperative Visits for Your Overall Health
By Collin E. M. Brathwaite, MD FASMBS
Are you feeling tired or rundown? Is the pain on the left side of your abdomen normal? Are your muscles cramping at night? All of these can be problematic symptoms related to your bariatric surgery. How do you know if they are serious or something that will go away on their own? We strongly encourage you to contact your bariatric program to speak to a member of the multidisciplinary staff, your surgeon or bariatrician. Routine postoperative visits are vital to your health and well being after your life changing surgery. For instance, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can initially start subtly and progress over time, if ignored. Once these deficiencies take hold, replacement can be a difficult endeavor.
Now, think about the changes in your anatomy. Bariatric surgery not only changes the way you absorb and process your foods, it also significantly changes your internal anatomy. Any abdominal surgical procedure can predispose you to postoperative health risks, like incisional and umbilical hernias or adhesions. There are also issues specific to the bariatric procedures called internal hernias. Bariatric surgeons and bariatricians specialize in this field of surgery and know the subtle red flags that must be addressed and quickly corrected before they become serious.
Postoperative visits on a consistent basis, give the surgeon and multidisciplinary staff an opportunity to evaluate any behavorial changes that are necessary for long term success. Additionally, vitamin and mineral supplementation is discussed and blood work is analyzed for deficiencies. Medications are discussed and scrutinized for necessity. Eating patterns are reviewed for signs of maladaptive eating. Appropriate and safe exercise plans are discussed to help patients achieve their healthiest weight and lifestyle.
Plus it is a lot of fun to return to your bariatric program to show off your success. Remember, we want to see you whether you feel you are doing well or not so well. Postoperative visits are important; so we hope to see you soon.