Bariatric Surgery: What to Expect after ?
After any surgery, there is discomfort and a limitation of physical exertion. Bariatric surgery patients must consider those issues as well as special considerations unique to bariatric surgery.
Food restrictions after bariatric surgery
Bariatric surgery patients cannot eat solid foods for the first three days after bariatric surgery because the digestive tract needs time to heal. After three days, patients begin to gradually add soft foods, continuing for a few weeks. After undergoing bariatric surgery, patients can generally intake about two ounces of food at a time.
See Sample Bariatric Surgery Diet for more information about a typical diet after bariatric surgery.
Limited physical activity after bariatric surgery
The same day after bariatric surgery, you will be asked to stand or walk and to continue to take short walks during your recovery time in the hospital. You should not drive for about two weeks or longer if you are still taking postsurgical medication that makes you drowsy. Depending on the type of bariatric surgery, patients typically go back to work in one week to six weeks. Many patients are back to a physically normal routine about six weeks after bariatric surgery.
Follow-ups with your bariatric surgeon
Follow-up appointments with your bariatric surgeon are extremely important after bariatric surgery. Your bariatric surgeon and other specialists, like a dietician, need to know if you are experiencing any complications after your bariatric surgery. If you had adjustable gastric banding surgery, your band will need to be adjusted. You will also consult with your bariatric providers so to develop and ensure that you adhere to a plan to maximize your weight loss.
Like your required dietary changes, bariatric surgery requires life-long dedication. The first follow-up is typically three weeks after bariatric surgery. There are usually several follow-ups within the first year and then once a year after the first year. Bariatric surgery patients are also encouraged to attend counseling sessions for support with the diet, lifestyle, physical, mental, and emotional changes that are associated with bariatric surgery.
Rapid weight loss side effects
Losing a substantial amount of weight has varying effects on the body. Flu-like symptoms like fatigue and body aches, a feeling of being cold, dry skin, hair thinning or loss, and mood changes can occur. As you will lose a substantial amount of weight, loose skin around the face, neck, arms, legs, and breasts can occur. This loose skin can often be corrected with plastic surgery and, in some cases, laser lipo.
Correcting loose skin after bariatric surgery
Reconstructive, or plastic surgery, becomes an option for bariatric surgery patients who have lost 100 or more pounds of excess skin. A consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss the removal of excess skin should be scheduled no sooner than one year after bariatric surgery to make sure that weight loss is stabilized and that you are clear of postsurgery complications. Patients that have lost a lesser amount of weight and have less loose skin might have tumescent laser lipo as an option for skin tightening. Consult with your doctor to find the right solution for your needs.
Get more information on bariatric surgery
For more information on bariatric surgery, see the links to the left. To find a bariatric surgeon near you, use our bariatric surgeon locator.
Find out if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery.
Questions about what to expect after bariatric surgery:
- How long will I have to stay in recovery after my bariatric surgery?
- How will I feel after bariatric surgery?
- How much pain is there after bariatric surgery?
- How long can I expect to fully recover from my bariatric surgery?
Questions to ask about your return home after bariatric surgery:
- Am I required to have someone drive me home after bariatric surgery?
- What kind of care will I need at home?
- Should I have someone help me after my bariatric surgery? And if so, for how long?
- Are there any activity limitations after my bariatric surgery and for how long?
- What kind of diet should I keep after my bariatric surgery?
- What symptoms should I watch out for and report after my bariatric surgery?
- When should I contact my bariatric surgeon?
- What medications do I need to take after my bariatric surgery?
- Is there anything that I should refrain from after my bariatric surgery (for example, heat or sun)?
- Do I need bed rest after my bariatric surgery and for how long?
- How long before I can go back to work after my bariatric surgery?
- Do I need to wear bandages or special garments? And if so, for how long after my bariatric surgery?
- How soon can I resume my normal activities after my bariatric surgery?