Going Back To Work/Play
One of the strongest desires of any surgical patient is to get back to a normal life after their surgery is complete. Further, most patients are excited about the possibilities of their new life and want to get into the swing of things with haste. While we want to provide the smoothest possible transition into regular life, there’s no getting around safety. As such, we encourage you to take the time necessary to recovery fully. Throughout your recovery, you will be quoted a “back to work” time frame. This is simply an estimate that depends on many factors in your recovery.
Going Back to Work
Depending on the procedure, you may be able to return to work after 2 to 5 weeks. This will also depend on the progression of your recovery. During this period, it is important that you get plenty of rest as complications can occur if you over exert before you are fully healed. While we know that you will want to return to work as soon as possible, your long-term recovery after bariatric surgery rests on proper care.
Those who have strenuous jobs may have to wait up to 6 weeks before they are fully healed. Lifting more than 20 pounds within that time is strictly prohibited as it can put unnecessary strains on the abdomen and cause serious complications at the surgical site. We suggest that you discuss your work pattern at your one month follow-up appointment to ensure that your condition will allow for it.
With the above being said, we do want you to get up and move around at work. If it is not possible to take regular 10-15 minute breaks to walk around the office, then be sure you spend some time walking during your lunch hour. We want you to limit strenuous activity, but we want you to be active nonetheless.
Getting Back Into Normal Household Activities
Depending on your lifestyle and activity levels before surgery, the time it takes to return to normal can vary. We will certainly encourage you to walk as much as possible without overexerting yourself or causing any significant pain. You may only be able to walk for a few minutes at a time when you first get home, but you will find yourself able to increase these intervals over the course of a few days. Within a couple weeks, we want you to be exercising at least thirty minutes a day. This keeps your circulatory system pumping and continues to allow your body to heal properly.
Most patients will not be happy sitting at home doing nothing. As your condition permits, feel free to begin light house duty. For example, vacuuming with a light stick vacuum is probably OK. So too is doing the laundry. Just remember not to lift too much – like a basket full of clothes. Climbing stairs should be just fine (those undergoing an open procedure should wait at least 2 weeks), but take it easy and be careful about falling, especially if you’re taking narcotic pain medication or if you feel an unexpected tinge of pain.
By four to six weeks you should be able to perform all post-operative exercise programs and begin performing the household activities as you did before surgery. Remember that any significant pain from activities means you’ve gone too far – you should ease into more intense exercise as you are able.