When choosing to take the next step in your journey and undergo a bariatric procedure, you will also make your choice about how long your recovery time will be. Each bariatric procedure is different, meaning the length of recovery will also vary. With the advance in medicine and technology, most procedures can be performed laparoscopically utilizing a few small incisions in the abdomen. In certain cases, the patient may need to have an open procedure instead of having it performed laparoscopically. This will require a longer recovery period. Because procedures like the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve involve cutting and rerouting of the intestines and stomach, these procedures are associated with a greater risk of complication and a longer recovery time. Healing will also be faster because there are no cuts or staples.
Surgery Day and the Following Days
The stomach healing process following bariatric surgery takes from about four to six weeks depending on the procedure. For procedures like the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, you will need to stay in the hospital for upwards of a few days so that your surgical team can monitor your vitals and make sure you are not experiencing any complications. Following the surgery, you’ll feel some pain and you’ll likely have some swelling. Standard pain medicine should make you comfortable. With procedures like the Lap-Band® Program, you’ll be able to go home the same day as the procedure.
You will be given a specific food plan to follow after your surgery. Not only will your caloric intake be severely limited, but your stomach will need time to heal. Following surgery, you’ll be placed on a strict clear liquid diet. After a few days consuming clear liquids only, patients move to a liquid diet, then a pureed food diet, then a soft food diet. Once the body has fully healed, your surgical team will clear you to enjoy a full range of foods. Following this plan is crucial; eating solid food too soon can be detrimental. It is also of the utmost importance that patients ensure they are staying hydrated and getting enough protein following surgery; failing to do so can result in major problems.
After bariatric surgery, experts recommend patients take approximately one to two weeks off from work. Following surgery, many patients feel more energetic and they want to get out and exercise. Walking just hours after surgery can help patients heal faster. However, it’s important to take it easy. Patients should aim to exercise moderately for around 30 minutes per day; starting with walking is a great idea. You should wait to begin strenuous physical activity, whether in the gym or at work, until your doctor okays it.
After bariatric surgery, the most important thing is to make sure you are allowing your body the time it needs to heal. Make sure you are following up with your surgical team for necessary aftercare. Visit us for more resources.