Laparoscopic gastric bypass: realistic healing time?
March 1, 2014 11:39 AM   Subscribe

My question is for people who've had the laparoscopic gastric bypass in particular: were you able to get up and move around with relative ease within two weeks?

I just got my surgery date and I'm getting the Roux-en-Y done in mid-April. The surgeon usually does the procedure laparoscopically and didn't give me any indication that I'd be an exception.

I've heard varying things about the post-op recovery time. The nutritionist who led the pre-op educational sessions said 6-8 weeks, someone else said 3-4 weeks, and the surgeon himself said two weeks. I took the first date the scheduler offered me, even though the surgery is two weeks before I'm due to get on a plane for 2-3 hours and give a 20-minute presentation at a conference. I'm going by what the surgeon said about recovery only taking two weeks. My question is for people who've had the laparoscopic gastric bypass in particular: were you able to get up and move around with relative ease within two weeks? Will I be okay for the short amount of time that I need to speak at the conference?
posted by mirepoix to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
You will probably be fine, however I would develop a backup plan either way (e.g. do you have a colleague who could be on standby to present in your place just in case?). All laparoscopic procedures carry a risk of becoming laparotomies (open incision) during the surgery -- some people's anatomies just don't really jibe with laparoscopy, or your surgeon might encounter something he isn't expecting and need to open you up, etc. Two weeks for a laparoscopic gastric bypass is usually fine, but if it ends up as open surgery, that might be pushing it.
posted by telegraph at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2014

Please talk to your surgeon - his view of "up
and about" may not include airports, air travel, and public presentations.

Additionally, the surgeon and the post-op team may want you to be close by for a specific period.

(I have no personal experience but do know someone who has performed literally thousands of similar procedures. You are an individual and your surgeon likely has very specific expectations based on you that trump base statistics for the surgery. )
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:27 PM on March 1, 2014

My former roommate had this surgery done about a year and a half ago. He was out of work for over three weeks, and not really up for much for almost six weeks. By two weeks post-op, he was going to the movies, and the theatre, where he could go out and then sit down.

He had to stay with his mom for the whole three weeks he was out of work, because his doctor didn't want him being alone. He was stuck in bed for much of the first week. This was also a laparoscopic surgery for him.

I'd really urge you to talk with your doctor and get his opinion. I know my roommate couldn't have handled air travel two weeks post-op. He might have managed the presentation, but not the travel. Much of this varies person-to-person, but your body will still need time to heal.
posted by PearlRose at 2:54 PM on March 1, 2014

Yeah. Two weeks is pretty soon to be flying. I had the same procedure you are having, and had no complications. By two weeks I was mostly feeling fine, but still tired quite a bit. I probably could have done what you are contemplating, but just barely.

People have different ideas of what recovered is, and that is the difference between the surgeon's date (Recovered enough to feel OK and take full care of yourself, drive, etc) and fully recovered, with as much energy as before (6-8 weeks seems about right for that). Of course you don't know how you'll feel until you get there.

Honestly, even if you could do it, you'll stress about it, and there's enough to deal with with the surgery. I'd either postpone the surgery, or skip the conference.

Oh, and of course I echo the other comments. Talk to your surgeon, or call the practice and ask.
posted by Philbo at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2014

I did not have this surgery, but I lived with someone who did. I just want to echo the sentiment that "up and about" probably does not include what you are planning. "Able to walk around, and get out of the house a little bit, as long as you don't over-do it, and it's easy to over-do it" is a better description of the 2-week point. And any activity that involved walking more than from the door to a car left them looking gray and weak.

I suspect facing an airport and air travel would be do-able at 4-6 weeks, but still probably pretty hard on you.

Good luck with the surgery, it's a very serious undertaking, and the effects are very long-reaching.
posted by Lafe at 7:23 AM on March 3, 2014

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