What To Expect After Bariatric Surgery

The first few days and weeks after your bariatric surgery are a time for you to recover and begin to ease into your new life. You’ll also need to follow a few post op instructions from your doctor in order to make sure your body heals properly from surgery.

Here’s an idea of what you can expect to experience after bariatric surgery.

Pain: Most people will be sent home within a few hours after surgery or the next day. You should have made arrangements to have someone drive you home from the hospital and help you get settled in at home. While you may be a little sore in your shoulder and at the site of your incisions, you should not have a lot of pain after surgery and should be able to rest comfortably. Liquid pain medications should ease any discomfort you have. If you have persistent pain, contact your surgeon.

Diet: You will be on a liquid diet immediately after surgery. It’s a good idea to have jello, zero calorie sports drinks and clear liquid broths on hand when you get home. You’ll also want to sip water as often as possible to avoid dehydration. Your doctor should send you home with a plan for working up to pureed, soft and then solid foods over the course of the next several weeks.

Activity: Spend the first few days mainly resting with short walks during the day to avoid complications. After a week, you should be able to return to work if you do not have a physically demanding job. Most people are able to return to regular activity within a few weeks of surgery. You can begin exercising by going for a daily walk after about a week. Talk to your doctor before beginning a more strenuous fitness routine.

Unexpected Problems: If at any time you feel like you are not recovering as expected, contact your surgeon’s office immediately. Some possible signs of problems that you should notify your doctor of right away include:

  • A fever of 101 degrees or higher.
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • Pain, redness, or swelling in one your legs.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe pain in your abdomen
  • Pain, swelling, or fluid leaking from your incisions

Weight loss: Although you will likely lose weight as a result of the liquid diet shortly after surgery, remember that the goal of the first several weeks is to make sure your body heals properly and adjusts to the surgery. You may spend the first month or two working with your surgeon to make sure your post op progress is going according to plan, and that you are adjusting well to your new lifestyle and eating changes.

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