Life After Surgery

What happens after gastric bypass surgery?

In the hospital
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room. Weight loss surgery usually requires an in-hospital stay of several days.
You may receive pain medication as needed, either by a nurse or by administering it yourself through a device connected to your intravenous line.

You will be encouraged to move around as tolerated while you are in bed, and then to get out of bed and walk around as your strength improves. This is very important, as it helps to prevent blood clots from forming.

At first you will receive fluids through an IV. After a day or two you will be given liquids, such as broth or clear juice, to drink. As you are able to tolerate liquids, you will be given thicker liquids, such as pudding, milk, or cream soup, followed by foods that you do not have to chew, such as hot cereal or pureed foods. Your physician will instruct you about how long to eat pureed foods after surgery. By one month after your procedure, you may be eating solid foods.

You will be instructed about taking nutritional supplements to replace the nutrients lost due to the reconstruction of the digestive tract.
Before you are discharged from the hospital, arrangements will be made for a follow-up visit with your physician.

At home
  • Once you are home, it will be important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions. The sutures or surgical staples will be removed during a follow-up visit.
  • The incision and abdominal muscles may ache, especially with deep breathing, coughing, and exertion. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications.
  • You should continue the breathing exercises used in the hospital.
  • You should gradually increase your physical activity as tolerated. It may take several weeks to return to your previous levels of stamina.
  • You may be instructed to avoid lifting heavy items for several months in order to prevent strain on your abdominal muscles and surgical incision.
  • Weight loss surgery can be emotionally difficult because you will be adjusting to new dietary habits and a body in the process of change. You may feel especially tired during the first month following surgery. Exercise and attending a support group may be helpful at this time.

Notify your physician to report any of the following:

  •     Fever and/or chills
  •     Redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the incision site
  •     Increased pain around the incision site

Following gastric bypass surgery, your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions, depending on your particular situation.


Individuals tend to have better outcomes when they can share their stories with people going through similar experiences. There are many psychosocial issues that you will experience as you are on your way to a healthier lifestyle. We strongly encourage you to join a support group for gastric bypass patients. Our support group is free and meets:

Learn about support groups