What should I expect after bariatric surgery?

After bariatric (weight loss) surgery, you must:

  • lead a healthy lifestyle
  • follow the recommended diet
  • stay hydrated
  • be active

Your surgeon will encourage you to get exercise each day, eat a high protein diet with small meal portions, drink 64 ounces of water and take daily vitamin/mineral supplements. You will have the support of your surgeon and weight loss team.

Attending monthly support group meetings is important. They will help you transition through the different challenges you might face such as hunger, enjoying meals with your family and other social events, and how respond to food around the holidays.

Rebecca Beecroft
Nursing Specialist

After bariatric surgery, you will be on IV fluid for a day or two depending on your individual progress. You will have a catheter in your bladder that usually comes out the morning after surgery. At this time you will start to be up and walking. You will have on tight knee high stockings to help prevent blood clots. You may also have compression devices on your legs while you are in bed. These devices provide a small squeeze to your legs to keep blood circulating to prevent clots.

Your post op pain is usually managed for the first 24 hours with a PCA pump or patient controlled analgesia. This allows you to control the pain management component of your care.

Physically you can expect some gas pain. This is because sterile surgical gas is used to inflate your stomach during the procedure. This gas pain can be intense. The best treatment is to move. Movement will also help the bowel wake up, allowing you to start on liquids sooner.

Before you begin to drink, a swallowing study is usually done to make sure there are no leaks in the new stomach and digestive pathway.

After 2 to 3 days, you will be tolerating liquid and very small amounts of food but you will likely be well enough to leave the hospital. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.