How Long Does It Take To Recover From Bariatric Surgery?

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Bariatric surgery is a relatively involved procedure that requires changing the way the patient’s digestion works in order to allow them to lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time.

Recovery from bariatric surgery can take some time. However, the recovery should not scare you off, as doctors and surgeons have made recovery from bariatric surgery as easy as possible.

How long will it take to recover from bariatric surgery, and what does that recovery look like?

Different Types of Surgeries

There are several different types of bariatric surgeries that are available.

The gastric bypass, or the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is the original and still one of the most popular options for surgery. The mini gastric bypass works slightly differently but has more or less the same effect.

The gastric sleeve is a surgery that is growing quickly in popularity and is expected to take over the gastric bypass as the preferred procedure for bariatric surgeons.

Other types of bariatric surgeries exist, but we’ll be focusing on these as they have roughly the same recovery time for most patients.

How long does it take to recover from bariatric surgery?

Recovery is a long process and is best explained using milestones. Not every patient can expect to have the same recovery time, especially if there are complications during surgery or if there are other circumstances surrounding the surgery or recovery.

In general, it takes about five weeks for a patient to start being able to do most exercises, reintroduce most foods, and be able to resume all normal activities. However, your doctor will still advise you on when you are able to:

  • Lift heavy objects
  • Do intense exercise such as sports or sprints
  • Eat certain types of foods

What does recovery from bariatric surgery look like?

1-3 Days Post-Op

During this time, the patient is on a liquid fast because the digestive system cannot handle much food. The patient is staying in bed for most of the day and is not going to be doing much activity. For those who are travelling to the surgery, the patient will be staying in the hotel during this period.

One Week Post-Op

At around one week post-op, the patient is eating pureed foods made in a blender. Certain types of fruit purees, yogurt, and protein shakes are allowed in the diet. The surgeon will provide a full list of acceptable foods at each stage.

By this time, the travelling patient will be going home and resuming their recovery there.

Two Weeks Post-Op

By two weeks post-op, the patient is starting to reintroduce soft foods such as scrambled eggs, ground meat, and certain vegetables.

After about two weeks, the patient can be expected to go back to work and resume most daily duties.

4-5 Weeks Post-Op

By this time, the patient is starting to reintroduce foods that were previously not allowed. Caffeine is still not recommended at this stage but on doctor’s request it can be added back into the diet.

The patient is now allowed to start incorporating some exercise into their routine. They will generally be told to start with light walks and possibly some swimming. Over time, they will be able to graduate to longer walks and other types of exercise.

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