Driving and Work Restrictions

Generally, you will not be able to drive as long as you are taking narcotics or experiencing enough pain that your ability to react will be delayed.  You may return to work as soon as one week after surgery if you are feeling well and do not have strenuous lifting requirements.  Most patients return to work in two weeks, while those with heavy lifting requirements return to work at four weeks.


Resume regular activity as soon as tolerated.  Your body will let you know if you are overexerting yourself,  but you should be walking every day and should reach two miles a day within one to two months. Water aerobics can begin when your incisions are healed (generally two weeks).  You will generally be cleared to resume activity at the wellness center after two weeks and can resume high resistance exercises after four weeks.

Incision Care

If you have laparoscopic surgery, you will not have any stitches or staples that will need to be removed.  The tape strips on the skin should be left in place until they start to peel off.  You may shower but please do not bathe or swim until at least two weeks after the surgery.  The dressings that were placed over the tape strips should be removed once they are wet.  Please do not rub the incisions. Instead, pat them dry with a towel.


You must comply with the Phase Two diet for four weeks following gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.  Gastric Banding patients will progress to soft foods after week three.  Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients will not advance their diet unless instructed to do so by the dietitian or the doctor.  This is extremely important because your body needs time to heal properly before adding solid foods.

Advancing your diet sooner than recommended can lead to major complications and should not be attempted.


If a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy patient still has a gallbladder, they will be given a prescription for Actigall to be taken twice a day for the next six months.  This is a large capsule that can be taken apart and sprinkled in your food if you cannot swallow it.  This will decrease your likelihood of gallstone formation.

Additionally, all patients will be given a prescription for a narcotic to help with post-operative pain as needed.  Otherwise, you should continue all of your pre-operative medications, unless otherwise specified.

You should not take any NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, Goody’s, Aspirin, etc.) without first consulting the doctor and if you are given permission to continue, you must take an acid-reducing medication as long as you are taking an NSAID.  Your prescription medications may need to be decreased or discontinued as you lose weight.

Please consult with your primary care physician for these medication changes.

Follow-up Appointments

If you have had gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, your first appointment will be two weeks after surgery.  Your subsequent appointments are usually:  one month, three months, six months, and then 12 months after surgery.  You will have annual visits thereafter.

You will also have an appointment with our dietitian each time you see the doctor in the office post-operatively. Labs will be drawn at three months, six months, 12 months, and annually thereafter.  If you have had gastric banding, your first appointment will be three to four weeks after your surgery.

Your subsequent visits are usually every two months for the first year, quarterly the second year, and at least annually thereafter. It is vital that you keep all of your follow-up appointments for optimal weight loss and the best surgical outcome.

Surgery is only one portion of the bariatric tool; follow-up is the other.

Pregnancy Risk

If you are female, please use effective birth control measures if you are sexually active in any way for your own health and the health of your baby. It is best to wait at least 18 to 24 months before having sex without birth control.  Some women who were infertile before surgery can become pregnant unexpectedly. You may want to consider mechanical contraceptives because birth control pills are less reliable in the obese.

Going Back to Work

Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity, and the type of weight loss surgery you had. Many patients return to full pre-surgery levels of activity within a few weeks of their procedure. Patients who have had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may be able to return to these activities within two weeks.

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