Recovery From Bariatric Surgery

Your bariatric surgery team at Bay Bariatrics is here to ensure your recovery after bariatric surgery is as smooth as possible. Weight loss surgery is life-changing, and our goal is to walk you through the recovery period to significant weight loss and a happier, healthier you as quickly as possible.

As with any major surgery, it is essential to carefully follow the guidelines from your surgeon and attend all of your follow-up appointments. Our office will be here to answer any questions and ensure your body’s ability to heal from your weight loss procedure is optimal. If you’re ready to take the next step and see if weight loss surgery is right for you, call our office to schedule an appointment.

Get life-changing weight loss surgery. No blame. No shame.

What is Recovery from Bariatric Surgery Like?

Recovering from metabolic and bariatric surgery is a fairly mild process. Most bariatric surgery patients report a limited amount of pain, and the risk of complications is low compared to other major surgeries. Pain medications control most pain after surgery, and most patients spend only one night in the hospital. Most bariatric patients agree that their new life after bariatric surgery, which includes weight loss, a healthier lifestyle, and the ability to exercise regularly, makes the recovery period well worth it.

More FAQs About Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Recovery

How long is recovery after bariatric surgery?

Many weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass surgery, are performed laparoscopically, meaning the surgeon only makes small incisions. As a result, healing time is reduced. Most patients spend one night in the hospital and return to normal activities in 10 to 14 days. Patients should wait to return to more strenuous physical activities until their doctor releases them.

How long should I take off work after bariatric surgery?

We understand that patients hope to return to work as soon as possible. For many patients, getting back into a familiar routine, restarting income, or possibly having pressures or expectations from your workplace are essential. Typically, we recommend that patients wait two weeks (for stapled procedures such as gastric sleeve or bypass) before returning to their jobs. This recommendation assumes that the work does not demand a lot of physical exertion. For professions that involve lifting more than 25 pounds, a 4-week waiting period is necessary. Returning to work should only be done after receiving approval from our office.

What do patients eat after weight loss surgery?

Following weight-loss surgery, there are several diet phases, each with meals of varying textures. As your stomach recovers, you’ll gradually incorporate new foods into your diet.

Each surgeon may have slightly different recommendations, but in general, these are the guidelines to follow:

Step 1: Stick to a clear liquid diet.

Within the first 24 hours after surgery, you’ll start on a clear liquid diet while still in the hospital. The primary purpose of this diet is to keep you hydrated while avoiding any potential stomach irritants.

Broth, water, and tea are examples of clear liquids allowed on this diet.

Step 2: Follow a complete liquid diet.

You’ll be on a full liquid diet between one and three days after surgery. After weight loss surgery, getting adequate protein is critical. Protein helps you create and maintain muscle mass while also providing energy to your body.

This diet phase consists of protein shakes and milk products, which you will consume throughout the day for about 1 to 2 weeks.

Step 3: A soft diet, often known as a puree diet, is the third step.

Following the full liquid diet, you can gradually reintroduce solid foods with a pureed texture — think baby food — to re-establish your solid food tolerance. You’ll start a soft foods diet between weeks one and three after surgery.

During this phase, you’ll continue to prioritize protein, but you’ll be able to get the nutrient from foods including scrambled eggs, hummus, and tuna/chicken salad with mayo.

Protein shakes will still be consumed, but they will supplement your food intake rather than providing all of your protein.

Five to six weeks after surgery, you’ll continue to consume protein at each meal, but you’ll be able to challenge yourself by slowly incorporating tougher food textures. Soft fruits and vegetables, as well as some grains, are among the denser foods.

Step 4: Eat a balanced diet.

You’ll be able to resume a regular diet, with a wide variety of foods and textures, usually 4-6 weeks post-surgery. Awareness of your “new full” is vital during this phase, as satiety may arrive sooner than expected.

You’ll still prioritize protein at each of your three daily meals, but you can also include raw and fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Some foods and beverages are known to cause adverse reactions and should be avoided during the postoperative period. These foods affect you differently than others, so carbonated beverages, sugar-sweetened beverages, gum, and spicy foods are frequently not well tolerated.

The goal is to be eating a healthy diet rich in protein and healthy fats and low in sugar, carbohydrates, processed food, and artificial sweeteners by 4-6 weeks after surgery.

How painful is bariatric surgery?

It’s normal to experience fatigue, nausea and vomiting, difficulty sleeping, post-surgical pain, weakness, light-headedness, loss of appetite, flatulence and gas pain, loose stools, and emotional ups and downs in the days and early weeks after surgery. Patients experience these to varying degrees, so talk to your bariatric surgery team about any specific concerns you have.

You may have discomfort at the incision site or as a result of how your body was positioned during the procedure. Some patients feel neck and shoulder pain when the body reabsorbs the gas used during surgery.

If your discomfort stops you from moving, let your doctor know. Most patients use oral drugs for pain management, which function best when taken regularly. Do not wait until your pain becomes unbearable before requesting another dose; maintaining a consistent level of medication in the bloodstream keeps the pain under control.

Multiple therapy strategies are used in the pain management strategy to limit the demand for opioids. In most circumstances, oral opioids will only be provided for the first few days after surgery. Your doctor will prescribe prescription pain medication if needed.

Is bariatric surgery a lifelong commitment?

Surgery provides a physical tool for losing weight, but you must also commit to making the mental and emotional changes required for long-term weight loss and maintenance. Support groups are an essential element of weight loss surgery’s physical and emotional recovery process.

After weight loss surgery, many patients need to take vitamins and supplements for the rest of their life, eat high-quality nutrients, attend follow-up appointments with their bariatric surgery team, exercise, and participate in support groups. Your mental and physical health depends on your commitment to this multidimensional strategy.

Lack of exercise, poorly balanced meals, constant grazing, drinking excess alcohol, and eating processed carbohydrates, excess artificial sweeteners, and sugars are all common causes of weight gain after weight loss surgery. You must control your eating habits and exercise regularly for the rest of your life. Diet and exercise will be a considerable part of your success in shedding excess weight.

How long does it take to see results from bariatric surgery?

People who get gastric bypass surgery lose weight quickly in the first 12 to 18 months after surgery. Several variables contribute to the quick weight reduction, including:

  • Changes in gut hormones that suppress appetite
  • Changes to the stomach size, so you feel full with less food.
  • Changes in the bacteria that live in your gut that work with your body to restore health
  • A new diet that, regardless of surgery, will help people who are morbidly obese lose weight.

Here’s a summary of what to expect following bariatric surgery in terms of weight loss:

  • Most bariatric patients have dropped 30 to 40% of their excess body weight six months after the operation.
  • The weight loss during the six-month check-in determines the nine-month mark. If you lost a significant amount of weight at the six-month mark, your doctor will set a reasonable goal to hit at the nine-month mark, such as an extra two to five percent of your weight.
  • Most patients have lost 60 to 80 percent of their initial excess weight at the one-year mark, depending on their starting weight.

While the rapid weight loss following weight loss surgery is exciting, weight loss will slow as your body adapts to the changes and reaches a new health balance.

What challenges should be expected after returning to work following weight loss surgery?

When patients return to work, they can anticipate experiencing a few minor challenges. Which may include the following:

Staying on track with diet

Some people will return to work while on the reduced diet. This will require extra effort in preparing lunchtime meals to ensure they both receive the expected nutritional intake and avoid less healthy temptations. It can be more difficult to follow post-surgical guidelines in the office, especially if coworkers do not have the same restrictions.

Keeping to the Workout Schedule

It might be challenging to find time for exercise when you spend 8 to 9 hours a day at a desk. Lunch breaks are the most convenient time to leave the office. Walking to a nearby park, standing at your desk and moving around throughout the day, or parking a few spots further away all add up. Movement is essential for your continued recovery and, ultimately, for maintaining your new lifestyle changes, especially soon after surgery.

Levels of energy

Maintaining motivation and high energy levels may also be a factor to consider, especially when returning to work for the first time. While patients may fully recover, it may take weeks or months to feel “normal” mentally and physically. Remember, during this time, patients have not only modified their diet and exercise habits, but they are also going through many psychological changes that will affect themselves and those around them.

For some people, work-related stress is a daily occurrence.

Stress plays a key role in gaining weight, both psychologically and physically. As a result, we recommend patients start practicing stress management skills as soon as possible. Simple breathing exercises to full-fledged physical activity are all beneficial.

Patients who prepare themselves and those around them for life after bariatric surgery are often the most successful at returning to work while shedding excess weight. Speaking with managers and coworkers can go a long way toward assisting them in comprehending how their lives will change professionally and personally following surgery. Hopefully, they will be supportive and actively involved in your progress.

Get life-changing weight loss surgery. No blame. No shame.