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When can you return to your routine after bariatric surgery?

Date: February 1, 2018
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You might be anxious to get back to duties at work or at home. You must understand that your body has undergone a major change, and it is realigning itself to this new, positive change. You must give yourself time to allow that change to work.

After bariatric surgery, most patients can return to normal routine after 2-3 weeks. However, all activity may have to be cut down in half initially, as your body is still recovering.

Each type of surgery will have a different recuperation time, as the procedure, incisions, and the new digestive routes are different. Patients who undergo open surgery will take longer to recover than patients who undergo laparascopic surgery. This is because open surgery involved one large incision usually in the abdomen. This will take longer to heal. Laparascopic surgery uses 5-6 small incisions. This reduces healing time.

Lab band method has a shorter hospital stay, whereas the others might need more. Hospital stay is typically, 1 day for gastric band (lap band) and 2-3 days for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and duodenal switch.

With lap band technique you can return to normal activity in around a week, while the other methods might need you to rest for 2-3 weeks before you can return to your routine. All this depends on advisement from your surgeons, as your response to the surgery is being gauged by them. You may be asked to avoid strenuous activities such as lifting heavy loads and working out at the gym.

In general, patients make a full recovery from anywhere between 1 to 6 weeks, depending on the procedure and the patient. The gastric band method allows you to make full recovery in around 1 week. Other surgeries require a full recovery time of around 4-6 weeks.

You will transition from clear liquids to solid foods, pain will gradually cease and can be managed with prescribed medication. You will be asked to perform mild to moderate activity. Speak to your doctor about an appropriate gym routine and when you can start.

The new restricted diet with small portions and liquid foods will leave you with lower energy levels. Added to this is the strain of a surgical procedure and the mental adjustment to settle down into a new diet and activity patterns.

You will be given clear instructions by your medical care team regarding what you can and cannot do. Based on this, you can arrange your daily routine at work or at home with support from others. For example, you might want to work half days initially and build up to full work days. Or you might want to delegate getting groceries or picking up the laundry to a family member.

By sticking to the recovery plan, you will heal well and lose weight. This will improve your health — physical and mental. The benefits of bariatric surgery will boost your productivity and the overall quality of life. Make your decision based on advice from a qualified and experienced surgeon.

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