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Recovering from Gastric Bypass (Bariatric) Surgery

Updated on March 4, 2015
Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure carried out to reduce the capacity of the stomach and aid in weight loss
Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure carried out to reduce the capacity of the stomach and aid in weight loss | Source


Every year, around 200,000 people in the United States choose to have gastric bypass surgery. This type of surgery uses several different methods and procedures to help patients control issues with weight, appetite and eating. These surgical techniques are collectively known as 'bariatric surgery'.

This article explores what patients can expect when recovering from gastric bypass surgery including recovery times, side-effects and what is involved in the procedure. We'll explore:

  • What gastric bypass surgery is used for
  • Recovery times
  • Side-effects of the surgery

What gastric bypass surgery is used for

The intent behind gastric bypass and other bariatric surgery is to reduce the ability of the stomach to accept food, normally by reducing the size of the stomach. Various surgical techniques have been developed to accomplish this, but the most common type of bariatric surgery works as follows:

  1. Creation of a small pouch in the stomach that limits food that can be eaten.
  2. Partitioning off of the larger part of the stomach to prevent food being digested there.
  3. Connecting the gastrointestinal tract to the new part of the stomach.

Laparoscopic stomach surgery causes much less trauma and has a quicker recovery time for the patient
Laparoscopic stomach surgery causes much less trauma and has a quicker recovery time for the patient | Source

Recovery times

Following the surgery, the typical recovery of patients is:

  1. Patients spend two to five days in hospital.
  2. They will be able to get up and walk around after a couple of days.
  3. They will be able to return to light work and activities after three to four weeks.
  4. They will be able to return to normal work and activities after around four to six weeks.
  5. Complete recovery in two to four months.

If a patient has had laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery for their gastric bypass, recovery times and the trauma of recovery are significantly lessened.

A patient can speed their recovery through performing gentle exercises and other activities, following consultation with a doctor or other specialist.

There can be some side-effects from barometric surgery
There can be some side-effects from barometric surgery | Source

Side effects from the surgery

Typical effects from the surgery include:

  • Discomfort and pain from the surgery.
  • Significant changes in appetite.
  • Nausea and other feelings of being unwell.
  • Insomnia and tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Mood swings and changes to emotional state.
  • Changes to the digestive system.

Choosing what type of surgery to have

Have you had or are you considering gastric surgery?

See results

In closing

Gastric bypass surgery is very effective at treating issues with eating, appetite and weight control.

Significant reductions in a person's weight and associated medical conditions are normal for the majority of patients.


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