Bariatric Journal

Gastric Bypass Recovery Time

The recovery period commences immediately after the completion of the surgery and reversal of anesthesia. The entire gastric bypass recovery time is about 4-6weeks. However, this period may be prolonged in the presence of any of the early postoperative complications.

The first three days will be spent in the hospital. You will most likely remain in bed for the first 24hours to allow the effect of the anesthesia to wear off completely.

During this period, you may experience pain at the incision sites. This is often managed with the use of intravenous analgesics.

Commencement of feeding is after the bowel movements have been restored. This is marked by the passage of flatus or feces. It is, however, better to wait for your surgeon’s approval before you commence oral feeding. Your diet will be purely liquid starting from sips of water to other clear liquids.

Activity during this period will be limited to walking around the hospital. This walking is essential as it helps to prevent the formation of blood clot in the leg veins (DVT) with its attendant life-threatening complications.

After discharge from the hospital, you may need to take the next 1-3weeks off work.

Wound care should continue during this period until complete healing. Any undue pain or discharge from the wound site should be promptly reported to your surgeon as these may be symptoms/signs of wound infection.

Diet should be clear liquid with a gradual transition to semisolid foods. You may start to experience nausea, vomiting, bloating and dumping syndrome during this period. These can be reduced by eating a small quantity of food at a time, avoiding refined sugars, and carbonated drinks.

There may need to continue oral pain medication for the first one week after surgery.

Exercise during this period should be limited to walking, breathing training and light weight lifting (not more than 5kg).

After the third week of surgery, you should be able to take substantial diet, pain should have gone completely, and wounds should have healed. You can now engage in more demanding physical activities such as running, swimming and muscle strengthening exercise. This is also the time to return to work.

Your diet and supplements should be strictly in compliance with your dietician’s plan and advice. This will help you lose weight as expected and prevent nutritional deficiencies, remember gastric bypass surgery is just a means to an end and not the end itself.

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