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Discharge Instructions for Gastrectomy

Discharge Instructions for Gastrectomy

You had a gastrectomy. During this surgery, some or all of your stomach was removed because it wasn’t working properly, putting you at risk of future health problems. As you heal from surgery, here’s what you’ll need to know to care for yourself.

Eating and Drinking

  • Follow the diet that was prescribed for you in the hospital. Eat pureed foods and liquids for 3 weeks after the surgery.

  • Drink liquids in smaller amounts than you used to. This will make it easier for your body to digest liquids. But, it is important that you continue to drink liquids (in small amounts) so that you do not become dehydrated. Some signs of dehydration include dry mouth and dark urine.

  • Eat slowly. Eating too much or too fast will cause nausea and vomiting.

  • Use liquid nutritional supplements to make sure you get enough calories.

Activity

  • Remember, recovery takes several weeks. It is normal to feel tired. Rest as needed.

  • Walk as often as you feel able. Increase your activity slowly.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds.

  • Avoid strenuous chores, such as vacuuming or lifting full bags of garbage, until the doctor says it’s okay.

  • Climb stairs slowly and pause after every few steps.

  • Do not drive for 2 weeks after surgery.

  • Start an exercise program 1 week(s) after discharge. You can benefit from simple activities such as walking or gardening. Ask your doctor how to get started.

  • Ask your doctor when you can expect to return to work.

Other Home Care

  • Continue the coughing and deep breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.

  • Shower as needed. But avoid baths, swimming pools, and hot tubs for 2 weeks after going home. This helps prevent infection of the incision site.

  • Keep the incision clean and dry. Wash the incision gently with mild soap and warm water. Then gently pat the incision try with a towel.

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about caring for the dressing covering your incisions.

  • If your doctor used Steri-Strips (small white adhesive strips) to close the incision, do not remove them. Let the strips fall off on their own. If they don’t come off within 2 weeks after you were sent home, call your doctor.

  • Take your medications in crushed or liquid form for 3 weeks after surgery.

  • Take a chewable vitamin 2 time(s) a day. Ask your doctor if you also need to take a supplement for vitamin B12.

  • Take all medications as directed by your doctor.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor which readings mean that you need medical attention.

Follow-Up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Cloudy or smelly drainage from the incision site

  • Fever of 100°F or higher, or shaking chills

  • Fast pulse

  • Night sweats

  • Pain, nausea, or vomiting that keeps occurring after you eat

  • Diarrhea beyond the first week after discharge

  • Pain in your upper back, chest, or left shoulder

  • Hiccups that won’t stop or that keep coming back

  • Confusion, depression, or unusual fatigue

  • Signs of bladder infection (urinating more often than usual; burning, pain, bleeding, or hesitancy when you urinate)


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