What to Expect After Weight Loss Surgery

What Will the Recovery Be Like?

Most gastric bypass surgery is laparoscopic, which means the surgeon makes small cuts. That makes for shorter recovery time.

Most people stay in the hospital 2 to 3 days, and get back to normal activities in 3 to 5 weeks.

If the surgery must be “open,” meaning the surgeon has to make a larger cut, healing takes longer.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Most people experience no serious problems after weight loss surgery. Only about 10% have minor complications. Less than 5% have serious complications. If you do have any problems that concern you, check in with your doctor.

Some common side effects include:

  • Constipation is common after weight loss surgery. Your doctor can let you know how to handle it. Avoid granular fiber (Metamucil or psyllium), which can cause obstructions.
  • Dumping syndrome happens after eating high-sugar meals after weight loss surgery. Sodas or fruit juices are often to blame. The sugary food rushes through the stomach and can cause nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
  • Gallstones are common when you lose a lot of weight quickly. Up to 50% of patients will develop gallstones after gastric bypass surgery, and these are usually harmless. Sometimes, gallstones can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. About 15% to 25% of people need surgery to remove their gallbladder after gastric bypass surgery.
  • Wound infections can happen up to 3 weeks after surgery. Symptoms include redness and warmth, pain, or thick drainage (pus) from the surgical wound. Wound infections require antibiotics and sometimes further surgery.

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