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After Surgery

What to expect after surgery

After surgery, you will:

  • Be discharged home on a high-protein liquid diet—this will be your diet for the next several weeks
  • Be permitted to shower after surgery but not soak in a tub
  • Be able to clean your incision with clear water—but if you develop fever or chills or notice redness or foul drainage, you should call your surgeon immediately
  • Not be permitted to drive a car for at least two weeks after surgery
  • Not be permitted to lift anything greater than 10-15 pounds for the first four to six weeks
  • Be encouraged to walk as much as you wish and climb stairs when you’re ready, starting slowly and building up over time
  • Return to work as soon as three to four weeks after surgery if your job isn’t physically demanding
  • Expect to make 7-10 day, one, two-, five-, eight- and eleven-month post-operative visits for diet review, nutritional evaluation, and to continue to have tests performed to understand what supplements you may need. Patients will also have lifelong follow-up visits

After surgery, you can expect:

  • A dramatic initial weight loss, then a slowdown after several months
  • Weight loss to continue for 12-18 months following the operation
  • An unlikelihood of reaching an “ideal” body weight, but a loss of about 40% of your pre-surgery weight, with varying results depending on surgery and patient compliance. Metabolism, eating habits, and exercise will influence the weight loss results.
  • To follow a low fat and low sugar diet with three small meals per day
  • To develop a new eating style— to stop eating when you feel full to avoid stretching your pouch, and to avoid snacking constantly or drinking high-calorie beverages
  • To make exercise part of your daily routine to help maintain muscle mass, that helps to maintain your metabolism
  • Diminished medical problems associated with obesity including diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and arthritis
  • An increased chance of becoming pregnant during the active weight-loss phase (6 months to 1 year)—since it is difficult to maintain a healthy pregnancy while losing weight, we strongly recommend that you postpone pregnancy plans for at least one year after surgery or until your weight is stable
  • To follow an outline diet provided to you by your registered dietician, divided into phases based on the timeframe since your surgery. Adhering to this diet will help you establish normal eating practices and will be the key to successful recovery and weight loss

Click for a detailed outline of What to Expect After Bariatric Surgery (.pdf).

Weight Loss – Body Contouring

Geisinger’s team of board-certified plastic surgeons is dedicated to the unique cosmetic body contouring needs of post-bariatric and post-weight loss patients. Cosmetic issues that are characteristic for weight loss patients include stretched, excess and hanging skin, and lack of shape or body definition. These issues may be present on many areas of the body and occur in both male and female patients.

Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons are fellowship-trained on the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art approaches to body contouring and the associated innovative technologies available for weight loss patients.

after surgery