Recovery from bariatric surgery usually takes a little bit of time. At least two weeks need to be allocated toward the recovery from bariatric procedures. However, needing to recover from weight loss surgery should not give you pause, as advances in medicine have made recovery from bariatric surgery much easier than in the past.
Bariatric surgeries tend to be involved procedures that require altering a patient’s digestion and metabolism in order to rapidly lose large amounts of excess weight.
How long does recovery from weight loss surgery take, and what does recovery entail?
Recovery is a process. Not every patient recovers in the same amount of time- as people respond differently to the anesthesia during the operation.
Patients return to “normal life” (that is, go to work, do errands, and carry out most daily activities) after two weeks. Depending on one’s job and profession, patients may require shorter or longer than 2 weeks before returning to work. However, being able to go to work isn’t necessarily a full recovery.
A full recovery, or the ability to resume active exercise and reintroduce typical foods, will take about 4 to 5 weeks. Exercising after bariatric surgery will generally start with short brisk walks and graduate to jogging after a few months.
However, ask your doctor when you will be able to:
● Lift heavy objects
● Do intense exercise such as sports or sprints
● Eat certain types of foods
During this time, the patient is consuming only clear liquids because the digestive system cannot handle food yet. We encourage patients to NOT spend large amounts of time in bed. Doing normal activities around the home is a good way to get your body “back into the swing of things”.
After one week post-op, the patient usually eats pureed foods that should be mixed WITHOUT the use of a blender. Certain types of fruit purees, yogurt, and protein shakes will be introduced. Every clinic is different, and the surgeon will have their own recommendations for what foods are acceptable.
Protein requirements start to become very important, so consuming protein shakes is an absolute must during the early post-operative period.
After two weeks post-op, the patient will continue to introduce “regular” foods into their diet.
After about a month, the patient is starting to reintroduce foods that couldn’t be digested before. They will be able to eat most helathy carbs, dairy products, meats, and other typical foods. Spicy foods, alcohol, and fried foods are still off-limits at this stage.