Recovery after weight loss surgery

Understanding Weight Loss Surgery Recovery Time

Making the decision to undergo weight loss surgery is a monumental one, and it involves considerable deliberation and courage. While the outcomes can transform lives, there is a widespread misapprehension that this procedure serves as a quick fix to obesity-related challenges. The reality, however, is starkly different. Weight loss surgery is a springboard towards healthier living and it requires rigorous commitment to maintain and enhance the results. Weight loss surgery recovery time is an essential consideration as it dictates the timeframe within which the patient can resume their everyday activities. Let's dive deeper into this subject while sharing eleven key strategies to expedite your recovery and achieve your target weight.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is important in general, but especially after having weight loss surgery. Drinking water will help keep you full for longer periods of time, which will help you eat less and stay at a healthier weight. One of the worst mistakes you can make is drinking super-sugary or highly-caffeinated beverages after your surgery. They will increase your appetite and dehydrate you. Caffeine also makes it more likely for you to develop a stomach ulcer. Ask your doctor how much water you should be drinking each day. 

2. Monitor Negative Side Effects

Weight loss surgery is, after all, a surgery and a serious one at that. It’s always possible for you to develop problems and, if not properly addressed, these could lead to even more serious medical issues. Some negative side effects include a high fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or more, shortness of breath, leaking incisions, or severe pain anywhere, especially in your legs. If you experience any of these, call your surgeon right away.

3. Join a Support Group

The challenges that come after weight loss surgery are significant—not just physically, but emotionally. There may be times when you need a little help from people who can truly understand what you’re going through. Do a little research and try to find a nearby group for others who have undergone weight loss surgery, or at least find a good online support group. The most important thing to remember is you’re not alone.

4. Exercise Regularly

For a little while after surgery, exercising might feel uncomfortable. But when your doctor approves you to exercise, start exercising immediately. Even light exercise like going for regular walks will help prevent you from developing blood clots. Exercising is an important part of helping you lose more weight and keep it off. It will also improve your mobility and help you feel great!

5. Develop Healthy Eating Habits

bariatric protein bars

It’s important for you to develop good eating habits right after your surgery to prevent gaining the weight back. Remember that protein will be so important in your new diet. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but avoid snacking too much in between meals. If you do need to snack, make sure to choose a healthy snack. Know your temptations and create a strategy for how to combat them. Remember that just because you want to eat does not mean that it’s the healthiest decision or that it’s even what your body needs. Learn the difference between needing to eat and wanting to eat. You should also make sure you always stop eating when you feel full. Meal replacement protein shakes and bariatric protein bars will help control your hunger while also making sure you get the protein and vitamins that you need.

6. Take Your Supplements

After surgery, your body might have trouble absorbing enough nutrients from your food, which is why doctors often recommend specific vitamins and mineral supplements for you to take, along with eating a bariatric diet. Make sure you're taking these regularly and as directed to keep your body healthy.

7. Monitor Your Emotional Health

It's not uncommon to experience mood changes or feelings of depression after weight loss surgery. Don't hesitate to speak with a mental health professional if you're feeling down, anxious, or need help dealing with your emotions.

8. Follow Your Doctor's Advice

This may seem obvious, but it's crucial to follow all of your doctor's instructions. This includes things like when and how to change bandages, how to take any prescribed medications, when to come in for follow-up appointments, and what signs of complications to watch out for.

9. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Both alcohol and smoking can interfere with your recovery and overall health. They can also contribute to complications like stomach ulcers.

10. Stay Positive

Keeping a positive mindset can help you recover faster and adapt to your new lifestyle changes more easily. Celebrate small victories and don't get discouraged by slow progress.


It's important to note that recovery from weight loss surgery takes time and patients will need to make lifestyle changes to maintain their weight loss results.

The road to weight loss is never an easy one. Weight loss surgery can be a tremendous help, and with proper lifestyle changes, you can experience significant changes! It won’t be easy, but in the end, it will be worth it. You’ll be so much healthier and feel much better!


Recovery Time After Bariatric Surgery FAQ's

How long is the weight loss surgery recovery time?

Patients can usually leave the hospital 1 to 3 days after weight loss surgery and start to return to their normal activities 4 to 6 weeks later. But you will need to make lifestyle changes immediately.

How long is the recovery time for gastric banding surgery?

Up to a one-day hospital stay, followed by four to six weeks for full recovery. Most patients are able to return to work in less than two weeks.

How long is the recovery time for gastric sleeve surgery?

A two to three day hospital stay, followed by four to six weeks for full recovery. Most patients return to work in less than two weeks.

How long is the recovery time for gastric bypass surgery?

Recovery takes about three to six weeks. Patients usually stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days and get back to normal activities in 3 to 5 weeks.

How long does it take to see results after weight loss surgery?

Depending on the procedure, patients might keep losing weight for up to 2 or 3 years after surgery. However, weight regain can occur when a person does not commit to the lifestyle changes that are necessary in the bariatric process.

Author: Carrie H.

Carrie is a dedicated health and nutrition writer with a strong background in medical and scientific research. She is driven by a passion for helping others lead healthier lives, diving into the latest scientific research. Combining evidence-based knowledge with practical advice, Carrie strives to provide accurate and valuable information on health, nutrition, and wellness. Her ultimate aim is to empower readers, enabling them to make informed choices about their well-being.

Reviewed By: Dr. Huffman

Dr. Kevin D. Huffman, D.O., is a leading board-certified bariatric physician with extensive expertise in treating obesity. He has trained countless healthcare providers and founded American Bariatric Consultants to develop protocols and training materials sought by medical societies, pharmaceutical companies, patients, and hospitals. Dr. Huffman's impact extends beyond patient care as he prepares physicians for board certification, expanding access to this vital treatment.