Pain Relievers After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Gastric sleeve has become the most popular bariatric surgery procedure over the past several years. It is safe, effective, and less likely to cause long term complications or food restrictions than other forms of weight loss surgery. More and more doctors in the United States and Mexico are recommending gastric sleeve for their weight loss patients.
But as safe as gastric sleeve is, bariatric surgery is still surgery. There is a recovery time, and during that time you may find that you experience mild to moderate pain, especially at the surgical site and inside of the body while the stomach heals. It is not uncommon to feel the need to take pain medications as you recover, and although it is safe to use some pain medicine after bariatric surgery, there are others you may want to avoid.
Immediately After Surgery
Unfortunately, some pain may occur in the hours and days after gastric sleeve surgery as your body heals from the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications, or you may be expected to pick up safe over-the- counter medications to make the pain more manageable.
Immediately after gastric sleeve surgery, the only pain medications that will not affect your stomach lining include:
- Acetaminophen Pain Relievers – Acetaminophen based pain relievers, the most common of which is Tylenol, are considered safe to take after surgery. It is especially useful for the mild pain relief that is needed in the upcoming weeks after surgery.
NSAID pain relievers, in general, should be avoided. These include well known brands such as Advil, Bayer, Motrin etc., as well as any medication with Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin. NSAID pain relievers break down the mucosal membrane of the stomach, which can cause ulcers, delay the healing process, and increase the risk of complications.
After 1 Month
Avoid This Pain Relief Option (NSAIDs)
Your body needs at least one month of healing, so you’ll be expected to avoid NSAID pain relievers during that time. But once about one month is over, you are allowed to use NSAID pain relievers again as well if you still notice any pain or discomfort. However:
- Use as Directed – You are expected to drink a full glass of water any time you take this type of medication, and this is especially important after bariatric surgery.
- Avoid When Possible – Talk to your doctor before you use NSAID pain relievers with any regularity, and use alternatives, such as Tylenol, whenever possible. NSAID pain relievers are safe, but those that experienced bariatric surgery still want to be extra careful.
Examples of prescribed NSIADs you should avoid are:
Approved Pain Relief Option (Opioids)
This is another type of drug that is acceptable to take after surgery, but with caution. Opioid drugs like hydrocodone (Vicodin for example), oxycodone (OxyCotin, Percocet for example), morphine (Kadian, Avinza for example) and codeine all should be taken with caution since they can prove to be addictive. These also cause constipation.
Approved Pain Relief Option (Acetaminophen, Paracetamol)
Pain relievers that are Acetaminophen-based such as Tylenol and other prescription drug options can be approved for bariatric surgery patients. These can commonly be combined with opioids to aid in relief of discomfort.
When Will the Pain Subside After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Many patients do not experience much post-op pain or discomfort. The majority of any pain that is experienced usually subsides within 2 weeks You may experience some mild discomfort. If you are experiencing pain severe enough to require a strong medicine, you should speak with your doctor to ensure that there are no complications.
Listen to Your Bariatric Surgeon, Doctor, and Pharmacist
You want to be sure you are taking the appropriate medications based on your diet and activity level. Steering away from these instructions can lead to risks so it is strongly recommended that you adhere to the guidelines. You are always welcome to contact the necessary specialist any time that you have questions or concerns.
Also, don’t forget to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any other medications you may be taking. Some medicines interact with pain relievers, or may be affected by a reduced digestion time in the stomach. Gastric sleeve is less likely to create medication complications when compared to bariatric surgery that affects the intestines, such as gastric bypass, but it is still important to be careful.
If you have any further questions, you are welcome to of course call us at 855-768-7247