Published on July 13, 2016

Bariatric Surgery: What to Expect as You Recover

Bariatric surgery can offer you a new beginning.

But surgery is just the first step. For the best long-term results, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions as you recover. Here’s what to expect.

Support GroupFollow-up Visits

You’ll have many follow-up visits in the months after your surgery. You may see your doctor, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, dietitian, exercise specialist, weight-loss specialist, and a mental health specialist. It’s important to keep all of these visits to make sure you are recovering well and losing weight.

Your Diet Plan

Your doctor or nutritionist will give you a nutrition plan to follow after your surgery. You may start with a liquid diet then move on to soft or pureed foods before you can begin eating regular foods. Focus on protein foods, such as meats, fish, dairy, eggs and beans, and limit starchy or sugary foods, such as breads, pasta, and baked goods. Protein helps you feel fuller for a longer time.

It’s also important to drink enough fluids so you don’t get dehydrated. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of fluids every day, unless your doctor tells you another amount.

Vitamins You’ll Need

After bariatric surgery, you’ll need to take vitamins every day to make sure you’re getting enough of all the nutrients you need. In most cases, you’ll take a multivitamin with calcium, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12. Your doctor may also recommend vitamin A or other vitamins.

Taking Medications

Bariatric surgery can affect the way your body absorbs medications. Your doctor will tell you if you need to change the doses of your medications or take them in a different way, such as in a liquid or by crushing them into food. Your doctor will also tell you if there are any medicines you should not take.

Staying Active

Being active is an important part of long-term weight control. Your doctor or exercise specialist will help you come up with a program. Most specialists suggest getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, whether it’s walking, swimming, or taking an exercise class.

Getting Support

Having bariatric surgery is a big step. Getting support—either by talking with an experienced professional or attending a support group—can help get you through any bumps along the way.