What to expect after bariatric surgery

After weight loss surgery, it is crucial to follow your doctor's instructions to see lasting results. To help you do that, St. David's HealthCare equips you with the knowledge and resources you need. We'll do everything we can to ensure you successfully lose weight after your bariatric procedure and keep it off in the months and years to come.

To learn more about the support resources we offer after bariatric surgery, please call (512) 544-5433.

Weight loss surgery recovery process

As with any major surgery, there will be a recovery period after your bariatric procedure. This will vary from patient to patient and depend on the type of surgery you have. However, most patients typically return to work one week after a sleeve gastrectomy and two weeks after a gastric bypass.

Post-surgery instructions

Take the time to read and follow your surgeon’s instructions. Be sure to use this time to practice healthy habits, such as diet and exercise. However, it's important not to rush the healing process—your health is worth the time it takes to fully recover.

Weight loss surgery patients are expected to commit to healthy new habits. Many patients report they enjoy a burst of energy and motivation during the first 12 to 18 months following surgery.

During this time, you will be learning to:

  • Eat smaller portions
  • Take daily multivitamins and calcium supplements
  • Exercise regularly

Diet guidelines after surgery

The modification made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that you must follow for successful weight loss. Dietary guidelines include:

  • Chew solid food thoroughly
  • Do not drink fluids while eating
  • Avoid carbonated drinks, high-calorie drinks, milkshakes and high-fat and high-sugar foods
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Do not snack between meals unless advised by your dietitian

Common questions after bariatric surgery

After your surgery, our team is here as a resource to answer any questions you may have. Common questions include:

How long do I have to stay in the hospital?

It varies from person to person. Generally, the hospital stay is one day for a sleeve gastrectomy and two days for a laparoscopic gastric bypass.

What pain or discomfort can I expect after surgery?

With advances in pain management and nausea control, recovery is much faster and easier. General soreness is to be expected, and the most common discomfort is related to trapped gas in the abdomen. This typically resolves over the first 24-48 hours, especially if you are able to resume a level of some activity post-surgery.

When can I return to normal activity?

You can typically expect to return to normal activity within 10 days to two weeks.

Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

It is recommended that women wait at least 18 months after the surgery before a pregnancy. Please consult your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.