Weight Loss Surgery Expectations After

Bariatric surgery dramatically changes patients’ digestive systems to limit the amount of calories they can absorb (or food they can ingest) to help them lose weight. As a result, those who have undergone bariatric surgery will not be able to digest food in the same way they could before having the procedure. Because their bodies will have significantly different food needs, bariatric surgery patients will have to fully understand the changes they have to make in life after bariatric surgery.

Recovering from Bariatric Surgery

After a patient wakes up in recovery, hell probably feel some discomfort or pain, depending on his threshold for pain. Patients may be given a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) or pain medication to help relieve this postoperative discomfort.

In some cases, doctors will opt for an infusion pump that sends local anesthetic straight to the surgical site. This helps patients control their pain without having to suffer any side effects from narcotics.

Dietary Changes

The biggest change many bariatric patients notice is usually that they can’t eat the same way after surgery as they did before. They will have to follow new dietary guidelines, including eating smaller, healthier meals, to ensure successful weight loss and improved health.

During the recovery process, patients will have to ease themselves back into regular food by starting off with a liquid diet. Other dietary changes include avoiding alcohol and avoiding empty calorie foods. These are just some of the changes that should be made when switching to a bariatric surgery diet.

Health Changes

To gain the greatest benefits from this surgery, patients will have to make changes not only in their eating habits but also in their fitness routines. Many obese people dont have a fitness plan, but adopting one, under your doctors supervision, will help them feel better and help them manage their weight.

The health benefits of bariatric surgery and changes in lifestyle can include:

  • lower cholesterol
  • lower risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • more energy.

By keeping up with your bariatric surgery diet and exercise regimen, you will see many positive health changes.

Body Changes

Within two years after having bariatric surgery, patients will probably lose 50 to 60 percent of their excess body weight. Following doctors guidelines and recommendations will help ensure the weight stays off.

However, recovering patients may also find themselves feeling tired, achy and cold. Dry skin and hair thinning (or hair loss) are other common effects of bariatric surgery. While some of these complications may seem unappealing, keep in mind that most are only temporary body changes.

Psychological Issues

If you think that being overweight is simply a physical issue, it isnt. Many people (including those who arent obese) eat when theyre not hungry because of stress, boredom or a variety of other reasons. Some people find themselves overweight because they cant stop eating and dont understand why.

You may find yourself feeling moody due to all of the changes your body goes through in the months after bariatric surgery. Having a support system, whether with friends or family, is important. Also, consider seeing a therapist if you need help coping with psychological issues.


Mayo Clinic Staff (2007). Gastric Bypass Diet: What to Eat After Weight-loss Surgery. Retrieved April 22, 2008, from the Mayo Clinic Web site.

Medical University of South Carolina (2008). What to Expect After Surgery — Life After Surgery. Retrieved April 22, 2008, from the Medical University of South Carolina Web site.