What to Expect After Gastric Bypass Surgery

The goal of gastric bypass surgery is to lose weight and keep it off, but there are some things to understand first before getting this surgery. The reason your doctor spends so much time preparing you for surgery is to help you get through the recovery period and make sure you understand the importance of diet and exercise. While creating a smaller pouch in your stomach for food to be bypassed too, you still need to focus on proper nutrition, instead of just the quantity of food you eat. Here is more information on what you can expect after gastric bypass surgery.

The Recovery Period

One thing to remember about the recovery period after gastric bypass is that it is usually done laparoscopically, so recovery is not as intense or as long as with some other weight loss procedures. But it is still vital that you follow your doctor’s instructions exactly. You will be in the hospital for up to three days, and can resume normal activities around 4-5 weeks after the procedure.

After Surgery – The first part of recovery comes immediately after the procedure when you start waking up from anesthesia. While in the hospital, you will only be given a liquid diet, and will continue this diet for several days. After that, you can gradually start adding very soft or pureed food, though must do so very slowly. When you can start moving around, you are asked to walk 5-10 minutes at a time until you can get up to 30 minutes a day. Walking is imperative unless you have painful arthritis, where you can try water aerobics.

1-3 Months Post-Op – The next stage is around 1-3 months after gastric bypass surgery. By this point, you are starting to add more regular food to your diet, depending on what you like and the amount of nutrition. Some foods you used to like won’t go down quickly, or you may have lost a taste for them. Keep trying different foods that are recommended to you by your nutritionist. You should be up to 30 minutes of exercise a day, 3-5 days a week by the 3-month mark.

6 Months Post-Op – At six months post-op, you are already losing a good deal of weight, often up to 30 percent or more of your excess body weight. On average, gastric bypass patients lose around 50 pounds in just six months. You should still be eating and exercising as your doctor suggests though you might be adding a more sophisticated variety of activities.

9-12 Months Post-Op – Between 9 and 12 months, you will go back into your doctor for your follow-up. Here, they will weigh you, take measurements, and discuss how your recovery is going. They want to know what you’re eating and how much, and if you have any challenges. If you have noticed anything physically different, discuss this with your doctor to rule out possible complications.

Important Milestones

After surgery, expect to see your doctor or surgeon several times for routine follow-ups. For most gastric bypass patients, these are at the 3-month, 6-month, 9-month and 12-month mark, though they might vary slightly. If you got gastric banding, you might go in monthly.

How Much Weight You Will Lose

The amount of weight you lose and how quickly it comes off depends on you as an individual. This doesn’t happen at the same rate for everyone, so be sure you are keeping your expectations in mind. The average amount of excess weight loss after gastric bypass is around 60 percent.

After gastric bypass surgery, focus a lot on proper nutrition and exercise, not just on how much you eat. What you eat is just as important, especially with limited quantities of food. You need to have proper nutrition through the foods you eat.