Plan to take it easy after surgery to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease. Most patients are in the hospital for up to three days, and even after discharge, you will need to rest and relax. If your surgery is laparoscopic, you will probably be off work for two to three weeks. That time increases to four to six weeks for open surgery. Do not lift more than 10 pounds or push or pull anything until your doctor releases you to do so.
You will not be ready to eat solid food right away. For about the first two weeks, your doctor will have you on a clear liquid diet, followed by another few weeks of a full liquid diet. When consuming liquids, start with about one cup at a time and take small sips. Do not use a straw or drink anything cold or carbonated.
The next step is a soft foods diet. Instead of eating a few large meals, you should spread your eating out over the course of the day. It is important to stay away from any bread and other foods that could clump. Chew thoroughly and do not eat cold foods. It may be eight weeks before you return to a fully normal diet.
Medicine, too, must be consumed carefully after GERD surgery. Take liquid versions or crush pills and swallow them with liquids.
Your doctor will let you know how to care for your surgical site. You may have to cover the site before getting it wet in the shower. Do not take a bath or otherwise soak the site without your doctor's permission.
The surgeon will prescribe pain medication. Take it as soon as you feel discomfort so that the pain will not become intolerable. Gas pains are normal, and walking can help relieve them.
Fevers above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, red or oozing surgical sites, and problems with swallowing are not normal side effects, however. Neither are persistent coughing, difficulty breathing, or nausea or vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours. Call your doctor if you experience any of those symptoms.