Recovery from Weight Loss Surgery

Recovery from each surgical procedure differs, as it does from person to person. Because most weight loss procedures are done using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, patients can expect a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures. In general, recovery from gastric banding, gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy procedures can last from 2 to 8 weeks.

The diet and recovery plan presented below is general and may differ from the recommendations provided by our team. As always, follow the directions provided by our team.

Here are some of the things you can expect regarding diet and physical activity during your weight loss surgery recovery period.

Recovery in the first 2 weeks

Diet

  • Immediately after bariatric surgery you will be on a clear liquid diet. As your body heals, you’ll slowly progress to a full liquid diet. Your health care team will provide advice on the quantity and types of liquids that are right for you at this stage.
  • You’ll be encouraged to slowly sip at least 64 ounces of low-calorie, noncarbonated fluids each day to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages.

Physical activity

  • Stay mobile. Pneumonia and blood clots are two risks for anyone who has had surgery. To reduce these risks, start moving. To begin your exercise program, take walks or use a treadmill.
  • Use caution when bending at the waist and picking up heavy objects. If you injure your abdomen, you may lengthen your recovery period.
  • The doctor will advise you when to return to work and when to resume prior activities. Of course, this timing depends on your type of employment, the required physical activity, and your bariatric surgery recovery progress.
  • Consult with our team before starting an exercise program.

Weight loss surgery pain

A few days after any type of abdominal surgery, many people have pain that radiates to the shoulder and neck. This is normal. The pain should go away in a few days. However, if the pain persists, consult the doctor.

Recovery from 3 to 6 weeks

Diet

  • You will begin eating soft foods and progress toward solid foods. Our team will advise you on the quantity and types of food that are appropriate at this stage, so you can maintain healthy and balanced nutrition.
  • If soft foods are tolerated well, solid foods can be introduced about one month after surgery.
  • If you feel nauseated or regurgitate when you start eating soft foods, go back to your liquid diet and wait a few more days before trying soft foods again. If you have abdominal pain that lasts more than 3 hours, you need to contact the doctor right away.
  • Once you can tolerate solid foods, a typical meal will include protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs, and low-fat dairy products (yogurt or cheese), as well as starches and whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Protein helps you feel full longer.
  • Avoid raw vegetables, fruits with skin, nuts, popcorn, tough meats, stringy foods, and crusty bread, like bagels and pretzels. If you have the band, including these foods in your diet after bariatric surgery may block your stoma (the small opening between the upper and lower stomach pouches).
  • Avoid high-sugar, high-fat, or high-calorie foods because they can cause dumping syndrome for bypass patients, an uncomfortable feeling of nausea, lightheadedness, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of low-calorie, noncarbonated fluids each day to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages, alcohol, and high-calorie drinks like milkshakes, smoothies, and specialty coffee drinks.
  • Patients who have had gastric bypass surgery: your body will absorb fewer nutrients after the procedure. Because of this, you must supplement your diet with a daily multivitamin and calcium.

Physical activity

  • Continue walking and add aerobic exercises such as cycling, jogging, and swimming. These activities will help increase your energy level, burn calories, and tone your muscles.
  • Your abdominal muscles are healing, so lift with caution and do not perform any abdominal exercises until a member of our team gives you permission to do so.

Band adjustments (for patients with Gastric Banding)
Many patients have their first adjustment after eating solid foods for one week. Remember, the band provides some restriction even when it is empty. If you are losing 1 to 2 pounds a week and feel satisfied with an appropriate portion of food, you may not need an adjustment. Your doctor will determine when you need an adjustment.