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How Fast Can I Return to Work After Bariatric Surgery?

As surgical methods advance, bariatric surgery recovery becomes easier and faster than it was in the past. However, there will never come a time where you can leave the hospital after your procedure and head directly to work.

If you are planning to get bariatric surgery in Long Island, NY, you need to take some time off work for your procedure and recovery. But just how long will that be?


No One Recovers in the Same Way


First, understand that bariatric surgery recovery timelines are based on averages. So if you read that one procedure has a complete recovery timeline of 8 weeks, understand that some will be fully recovered sooner than that, while others will take a bit longer. You could fall anywhere on this spectrum.

If you have had surgical procedures before, the manner in which you recovered then should be more or less indicative of how you recover from bariatric surgery now, especially if the procedure involved abdominal incisions and changes to the digestive tract. However, keep in mind that changes to your health and even ordinary aging can change how you heal.


Your Job and Type of Surgery Alter Your Timeline


With any procedure, you will typically be able to return to work before you are fully healed, which is pretty important given complete recovery from bariatric surgery takes months. However, just how soon is safe depends on the demands of your job and the type of surgery you get.

For example, working a desk job is unlikely to cause much strain on your abdomen, especially if you can opt into a home office option during your recovery. On the other hand, if your job involves lifting items in a warehouse, you will constantly place strain on the abdominal wall.

Looking at different surgeries, some make more changes to the body than others. With the gastric sleeve, someone working a desk job could return to work in as little as a week, whereas a patient who received the duodenal switch procedure will be out for up to 3 weeks.

Below is a chart showing how long you will need to take off work for different types of jobs and bariatric surgeries.
 

Average Timelines for Returning to Work After Bariatric Surgery

Physical Demands

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric Bypass

Duodenal Switch

Gastric Balloon

Mostly Sitting

1-2 weeks

2-3 weeks

2-3 weeks

1-2 weeks

Mostly Standing

2-3 weeks

2-4 weeks

2-4 weeks

2-3 weeks

Mostly Walking

2-4 weeks

2-4 weeks

2-4 weeks

2-4 weeks

Requires Lifting

4-8 weeks

4-8 weeks

4-8 weeks

4-8 weeks

 

Keep in mind that recovery time for bariatric sleeve surgery is highly individual, so you should follow your doctor’s guidance over anything you read online, including this blog.

To learn more, first, see if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery. Then, schedule your consultation.