Bariatric Surgery Recovery: Weight Loss Surgery Timelines

what to expect from bariatric surgery recovery

People often ask us a variety of questions when considering medical weight loss, “How long does the bariatric surgery recovery take?”, “How long will I have to take off work after my weight loss surgery?”, “Will I be able to take care of myself after the weight loss procedure?” “Can I drive after bariatric surgery?”. If you are researching bariatric weight loss, you may be seeking answers to these and other questions. Following is an overview of what you can expect after bariatric surgery.

What Types Of Weight Loss Procedures Are There?

There have been many advancements in the bariatric weight loss field in recent years and with them came the addition of some non-invasive options that do not require surgery. Gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, and gastric lap band are all surgical procedures with the gastric sleeve being the most often performed.

Newer non-surgical procedures include the Orbera balloon, Obalon balloon, and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG). If you are researching weight loss surgery, it would be smart to become knowledgeable about all available procedures and choose the least invasive method, posing the least amount of risk, that can still accomplish your goals.

Video: What Is Bariatric Surgery?

What Is The Typical Bariatric Surgery Recovery Time?

The recovery time from a bariatric weight loss procedure will vary depending on the type of procedure performed and the technique used. Certain procedures will require little downtime, while others will take significantly more time for recovery. Some other factors that will determine how long recovery takes are age, overall health, pre-surgical BMI, and pre-existing weight-related conditions (if any).

After surgery, transitioning back to your everyday routine and achieving full recovery can present notable differences. However, by comprehending what to expect after your procedure and adequately preparing, you can ensure a smoother and more successful recovery journey.

How Long Will I Have To Stay In The Hospital After Weight Loss Surgery?

The length of your hospital stay will depend on the type of bariatric procedure you undergo. Surgical procedures will generally require at least an overnight hospital stay but typically, non-surgical procedures are performed as outpatient, and patients return home the same day.

The most common types of weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric band, and duodenal switch, are typically done laparoscopically with small incisions and a short hospital stay of one to two days. However, if deemed medically necessary, a more intricate open surgery may be needed, involving a larger incision and potentially necessitating a longer hospital stay of a week or more.

What Does Recovery From Bariatric Surgery Look Like?

The Hosptial Stay

Patients undergoing non-surgical procedures will be discharged home on the same day. On the other hand, patients who undergo surgery will spend some time in a recovery room being monitored by medical staff. Additionally, it is routine for surgical patients to wake up with an IV that administers pain medication. Moreover, there will be several small incisions or possibly one large incision in the upper abdominal area that have been sutured together and bandaged. Furthermore, some patients may experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia and wake up feeling nauseous.

Real Surgery Video: Gastric Sleeve by Dr. Ahad from IBI Healthcare Institute

During surgery, a breathing tube is used, so your throat may feel sore or a little scratchy. A member of the medical staff will probably give you ice chips every few hours as normally you are not allowed to eat or drink anything until the following morning.

Once you have been able to get up and walk around, you will be transferred to your hospital room, where you will stay until you are released. On the day after surgery, they normally allow patients to begin drinking clear liquids.

You will be monitored 24/7 and consistently encouraged (assisted when necessary) to walk around to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Moreover, if no complications arise, the surgeon will discharge you from the hospital and allow you to return home.

Recovering At Home After Weight Loss Surgery

Regardless of whether you have had surgery or a non-surgical procedure, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours.

In addition, you will be given aftercare instructions by your surgeon that are unique to your individual circumstances. It is very important for your bariatric surgery recovery that you follow these instructions carefully. These instructions may include directions regarding wound care, pain medication, bathing, walking to prevent blood clots, dietary restrictions, driving, as well as do’s and don’ts related to activities like lifting, household chores, etc.

Patients who have undergone surgical weight loss procedures will have a longer and more involved recovery time than patients who have had a less invasive procedure.

Recovery After Different Weight Loss Procedures Chart

Type of Procedure Hospital Stay* Av. Time Back to Work Full Recovery – Back to Normal Life
Gastric Bypass
Surgical 2-3 days 2-3 weeks 6-8 weeks
Gastric Sleeve LSG
Surgical 1-2 days 2 weeks 4-6 weeks
Gastric Lap Band
Surgical 1 day 2 weeks 4-6 weeks
Duodenal Switch
Surgical 2-3 days 2 weeks 4-6 weeks
Endoscopic Sleeve ESG
Non-Surgical No hospital stay 3-5 days 2 weeks
Orbera Balloon
Non-Surgical No hospital stay 3-4 days 3-4 days
Obalon Balloon
Non-Surgical No hospital stay 3-4 days 3-4 days

*Approximate hospital stay is based on laparoscopically performed surgeries. Open surgeries can increase hospital stay duration.

Non-Surgical Weight Loss

There are a few different non-surgical weight loss procedures. The recovery time is much shorter and although you will have dietary restrictions, your transition from clear liquids to solid foods will be faster.

Moreover, balloon procedures involve the insertion of balloons into the stomach to temporarily reduce its size, limiting food intake. Finally, after 6 months, the balloons are removed, assuming the patient has developed portion control and healthy eating habits, which they should maintain.

Obera Balloon

The surgeon guides the deflated balloon down the esophagus while the patient is mildly sedated. The Obera Balloon is then inflated using sterile saline solution to about the size of a grapefruit.

Obalon Balloon

The insertion procedure does not require any sedation as the patient swallows a capsule that contains the Obalon Balloon and a very small tube. Once the surgeon confirms the balloon has made it into the stomach via x-ray, the small tube is used to inflate the balloon. Mild sedation is used to deflate and remove the balloon after 6 months.

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)

The end result of the endoscopic sleeve procedure is very similar to that of gastric sleeve surgery but without any surgery. Firstly, surgeons use sutures and shape the stomach into a banana-like tube, making it about 70% smaller, without cutting or removing any part of the stomach. Additionally, the surgeon carefully inserts an endoscope down the patient’s throat to access the stomach, eliminating the risk of infected incisions or the need for healing time. The recovery time is significantly shorter than gastric sleeve surgery and the weight loss potential is very similar.

Video: ESG Weight Loss Patient Testimonial

10 Tips For a Smoother Bariatric Surgery Recovery

By optimizing your preparation efforts, you can significantly improve your recovery from a weight-loss procedure. The level of preparation needed, however, depends on the specific type of procedure you’ll be undergoing. In contrast to less invasive non-surgical options, surgical procedures typically require additional preprocedural steps.

  1. Engage with recommended support groups before your procedure for valuable knowledge and support.
  2. Plan for sufficient time off work, which will differ depending on the weight-loss procedure.
  3. Decide on your post-surgery support and transportation.
  4. Stock up on essentials while you recover by doing your grocery shopping.
  5. Bring your key support people to appointments to understand and support your physical and emotional changes.
  6. If you have children or pets, keep in mind that you may not be able to care for them yourself as you usually do. You may need to arrange for someone to help out for a while.
  7. Coordinate with your surgeon to obtain pain prescriptions prior to surgery and secure necessary medications and personal care items. Lack of transportation post-surgery may hinder store visits.
  8. If you can’t reach your bed after surgery by going up stairs, consider rearranging your sleeping setup or making alternate plans. Sleeping on a couch or recliner could be a temporary solution for a few days.
  9. Post your dietary instructions or wound care instructions in strategic locations so you or your caregiver has easy access.
  10. Make sure you follow any pre-surgery instructions to the letter to ensure your surgery is successful, and to mitigate risks.

Your Weight Loss Journey And Life After Bariatric Surgery

Regardless of whether surgical or non-surgical, your weight loss procedure is a wonderful new tool to help you live a healthier lifestyle. Moreover, it is very important that you continue to persevere with your exercise plan and, in addition, adopt a new normal in relation to your dietary plan. Furthermore, any weight loss procedure is only as good as the patient’s determination. Additionally, future choices and lifestyle changes play a vital role in its success.

Moreover, successful weight loss patients understand that surgery or procedures are not a quick fix. Instead, they serve as aids to help achieve formerly unattainable goals. In addition, leaning on your support system during recovery and beyond is crucial. They will offer strength and encouragement as you navigate your new lifestyle. Additionally, there are numerous individuals who have undergone weight loss surgery or are currently on a similar journey. You can connect with them, exchange information, and mutually inspire one another. Embrace the fact that your life will be different, but in a positive way.

A New Way Of Life: After Bariatric Surgery Recovery

You’re not alone. Say yes to a healthier lifestyle and commit to weight loss surgery. Additionally, the team at IBI Healthcare Institute is ready to support you every step of the way. Finally, to learn more about weight loss options and find the solution that suits you best, contact us.

Be part of our community, and let’s share positivity, insights, and healthy living tips!

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