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HJ

Carrot -- Stomach pain after eating solids 4 weeks post op

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I am 4 weeks post op, and last night at a holiday party, I inadvertently popped a raw carrot into my mouth, and did not realize the error until it hurt. Now the next day I still have some discomfort in my stomach area. Any thoughts? I need to be more aware and always be thinking, but hindsight is always 20/20. I have had no solid food since surgery, until this.

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Dear HJ,

It's not unusual for patients to have a bite too much early on after sleeve or bypass surgery. If the sleeve or pouch streches there will be some pain. The pain usually resolves fairly quickly, but may last a day. Consider staying on clear liquids for a day or two. Monitor yourself for persistent vomiting, rising heart rate, elevated temperature, or any new pain in the shoulders, chest, or abdomen. If you notice new symptoms, call your surgeon. 

Your surgeon will advise you on how quickly to advance your diet. Surgeons have different general preferences. And surgeons will give specific advice to patients based on the patient's surgery and medical condition. We tend to keep our patients on clear liquids for 2 or 3 days, nutritious liquids for a couple of weeks, and then puree/very soft foods until six weeks. After six weeks our patients introduce solid foods like fresh vegetables and soft cooked meats. So you may be advancing to fresh vegetables before your sleeve is ready. 

My biggest concern as a surgeon is for patients one or two weeks post op who move from liquids to solids too quickly. The staple line still is in the healing process and may not tolerate food impaction and vomiting. 

A word to the wise. Many patients want to experiment with thicker foods during the first couple of weeks after surgery. Call it old habits, a need to experiment, the thrill of getting away with it, or what ever. Just don't! Think of this analogy. You are on a hike in the winter. You're in a hurry to meet some friends at a trail junction. You come across a dozen lake. Now, you can either take the train around the lake, or take the "short cut" across the lake. What are the chances that you will break through the ice and either have a nasty chill or freeze and drown? Go around the lake, don't be a fool.

Same thing with your new sleeve or GBP pouch. It may take a while and be boring, but stick with the liquids until your surgeon says it's ok to move to thicker foods. Do not take the chance of eating solids, vomiting, and possibly rupturing your staple line. A staple line leak means a trip to the OR or radiology suite and weeks or months of recovery. You could develop blood clots. Your could die.

So, enjoy the hike. Take your time. Be safe.

Happy New Year!

 

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Edited by Dr. Callery
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