A fear of the unknown produces anxiety, and with gastric sleeve in Mexico, there are a lot of unknowns. Understandably, one of the top questions we receive is about how much pain patients experience right after the procedure. With the caveat that everyone—and every body—is different, let’s talk about some of the pain-related fears common to pre-op VSG patients.
#1: I have a low pain tolerance.
No matter how sick you are of being overweight, tired, and…well…sick, the thought of surgery is rarely a welcome one. So let’s get this one out of the way first: How bad is the pain from the surgery itself? Truthfully, incision discomfort is so tolerable that many patients don’t even need pain medication. As one patient says, it feels like you did a few too many crunches the day before. That may be hard to believe until you consider the way we perform vertical sleeve gastrectomy here. It’s a short (like, half-an-hour short) procedure that involves a handful of incisions so small that they’re measured in millimeters. That’s why most people agree with Terry, who says, “I had absolutely no pain at all, only a little tenderness.”
If you push too hard too soon, though, your discomfort level might be higher. And if you have little kids at home, you may be able to relate to Kristi. “(I had) tenderness for a couple weeks…it didn’t help (that) I have 3 kiddos 3 and under crawling all over me,” she says.
#2: I’ve heard the gas pains are a bear.
They can be. If people have discomfort, it’s usually because of gas. And while some people have almost zero has pain, others say it can last for weeks. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Why all the gas? When we perform surgery, we pump it into the abdomen to make surgery easier and safer. Unfortunately, some stays trapped inside when we’re done. If you’ve ever had gas pains of a different kind, you know it’s not always pleasant. Be prepared to burp quite a bit when you wake up (which is actually a pretty painless way to get it out of there) and walk to get the rest of that gas moving. Lots of patients swear by a heating pad, so don’t forget yours! If you struggle with gas, try this trick from Maribeth: “Walk, then lay on your left side for a few minutes, then flip right. Flip side to side then walk again. The gas (feels) like champagne bubbles running up the back of your throat.”
#3: I react poorly to anesthesia.
Some people just do. But vertical sleeve gastrectomy with us means you won’t be under anesthesia a second longer than necessary. Our world-class staff has perfected VSG to the point that most procedures last about thirty minutes. The less time you’re exposed to anesthesia, the better. And the better you’ll feel afterward. If you do experience nausea coming off anesthesia, our staff can provide medication that helps quite a bit during that period.
#4: Walking around right after surgery sounds awful.
It’s not. See the gas pains section to understand why it’s essential and can even lessen any pain you’re feeling. When patients hear that they’ll be up and walking within a couple of hours after awakening, though, it can be a little startling. But because the procedure is minimally invasive, walking isn’t a big deal for most people. Says Amy, “I was up and walking a half hour after I got to my room! No nausea and no pain!”
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you’ll feel like (or should) walk the length of the airport on the way home. Get a wheelchair. And rest assured that if you’re feeling particularly weak or nauseous after VSG, we don’t just drag you out of bed and force you on a march. One particularly wonderful thing about the Endo Hospital is that the small staff-to-patient ratio means we see you as an individual.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.