Bariatric Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery Recovery: What You Should Know

Feb 18, 2022

Are you preparing for weight loss surgery? Nicholson Clinic is committed to helping patients throughout their weight loss journey for life. In this blog post, you will learn what weight loss surgery recovery is all about and how to make the positive effect of weight loss surgery last.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Recovery Timeline
Many patients who have Gastric Sleeve Surgery can go home the same day, resume work after four to five days, and return to a desk job after 10 to 11 days.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Recovery Timeline
With Gastric Bypass, most patients are home the next day, can work from home after about four to five days, and could be back at a desk job in about 1 ½ – 2 weeks.

With both procedures, patients must adhere to a post-operation diet. The Nicholson Clinic provides detailed instructions and offers comprehensive support, but you need to do your part to carefully follow the guidelines provided.

From the time you get home from the hospital to three weeks after your day of surgery, a full liquid diet is required (beverages, broths, protein drinks). Please review the Post-Operative Diet specific to your procedure. It is also important to stay hydrated by sipping at least 64 ounces of fluid per day.

When to Start Stage 1
You will need to start this diet the day you come home from the hospital. The first three weeks postoperatively are crucial for minimizing complications and maximizing your recovery.

Adherence to the post-operative diet will set you up for success and protect against a potential leak along the staple line of your new, smaller stomach. Following a full liquid diet for the first 21 days after surgery will give your body time to heal. This diet will also help you begin to understand how much food you can eat BEFORE you feel too full.

This is a time of learning new behaviors and developing new lifestyle habits.

The main 3 goals during Stage 1 of the diet are to:

  1. Rest the stomach and allow it time to heal.
  2. Stay hydrated by consuming ≥ 64oz fluid per day.
  3. Consume adequate amounts of protein to aid in the healing process.

*Do not worry about calorie intake at this time as your body will turn to your stored fat to obtain the energy that it needs to function.

When to Start Stage 2
Start this diet at Post-Op Day 22 and continue for 3 weeks. This is still time learning about your new body. Let your pouch be your guide on portion sizes. Stop eating BEFORE you feel full. Remember to use a food scale to weigh your food. Overeating and not chewing your food thoroughly can lead to nausea, vomiting, and stretching out your stomach.

*Start with softer foods like yogurt then transition into soft solid foods like ground turkey by the 3rd week. It is recommended to introduce new foods at dinner time.

All patients should take daily vitamins for a lifetime to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Chewable, liquid or crushed forms of vitamins are preferred for the first 6 weeks during the liquid and soft diet phase, then you can transition to tablets or capsules at that point.

Over the counter multivitamins must be complete and should contain iron. Multivitamins should contain at least 200% Daily Value for most contents.
Specialized Bariatric multivitamins may prevent the need for additional vitamin D or B supplementation.

Once you are home from the hospital, you may return to daily activities such as showering, dressing, walking, etc. Do not get into a tub, hot tub, or swimming pool for 6 weeks or until all scabs have healed and fallen off. Keep the incision sites clean and dry. Gently clean your incisions with soap and water and gently pat dry.

Avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds until cleared by the surgeon. You may drive in 3-4 days as long as you are not taking any narcotic pain medication and you are able to turn your neck/head to see behind you. Sexual activity may be resumed as you feel able.

Post-Operative Appointments
It is important that you return to our office for long-term care. Your commitment to follow-up appointments, educational sessions and support group attendance will serve to ensure optimum health and success during your weight loss journey. Patients will receive our recommended Post-Operative appointment schedule and should continue to follow it. Remember that you are welcome to contact us at any time, from any location, for any reason, for the rest of your life!