Same Day Release From Hospital After Gastric Sleeve

Question Below Submitted By:  

Darren (a patient from Denver, CO)

To whom it may concern,

I have a few questions about same day gastric sleeve surgery. I’m getting the gastric sleeve this summer and my surgeon offers outpatient bariatric surgery. He is giving me the option to leave the hospital the day of my gastric sleeve and I want to make sure that’s safe.

How will this affect my safety during my recovery after my gastric sleeve? If I have such a short hospital stay for my gastric sleeve, am I at higher risk? I know some people stay at the hospital up to 2-3 days, so I’m confused why she’s encouraging me to be released the same day.

Thanks,
Darren

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Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response To: Same Day Release From Hospital After Gastric Sleeve

by: Dr. John Rabkin

Darren,

The Gastric Sleeve (VSG) Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) procedure is a very quick, straightforward and safe procedure in morbidly obese but otherwise 'low risk' operative candidates. There is no predetermined standard minimum hospital length of stay (LOS) following the VSG: different bariatric surgeons/programs follow different approaches that may in part depend as well on available outpatient resources.

The estimated LOS likely depends on the specifics of the candidate patient with those having more medical problems and/or more difficulties following the procedure remaining hospitalized for a longer period. The fact that your bariatric surgeon recommends that you have your VSG as an outpatient suggests to me that you've been properly assessed as a 'routine' WLS candidate for whom outpatient care following the procedure would be appropriate.

The primary considerations to be assessed to determine a need for ongoing hospitalization following the VSG are to address potential discomfort and to maintain hydration. The VSG is routinely performed laparoscopically (small incisions) so that the discomfort from the incisions which is often the most uncomfortable component of the recovery can be adequately managed with oral analgesics alone without any need for parenteral (intravenous) medications.

Furthermore, provided the patient has little to no nausea and can tolerate enough oral fluid to maintain their hydration following the VSG, there may not be any reason to receive any additional parenteral fluid once recovered from the anesthesia. Consequently, patients who experience adequate pain relief with their oral medications and can maintain their hydration orally don't have any need to remain in a hospital and are often more comfortable and can better recover at home.

For the appropriate patient, there isn't any specific reason why it would be inherently safer or better to stay in the hospital versus recovering at home. Should any issues arise after surgery that would preclude being safely discharged home the day of surgery, I am certain that your bariatric provider would recommend that you extend your hospitalization in that circumstance.

All of this said, remaining in the hospital when you don't absolutely have to is not usually something desirable; conversely, the opportunity to sleep in your own bed as soon after surgery as you can is something to look forward to!

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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