Bariatric Surgery: Recovery and Follow-Up

Bariatric surgery is the first step toward your new, healthier life. Find out what happens after bariatric surgery at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), including information about recovery and follow-up care.

At LVHN, “before” and “after” are just as important as “during.” We work with you closely throughout your bariatric surgery journey. 

What to expect after bariatric surgery

After surgery, we continue to work with you – making sure you are healthy and staying on track with your weight loss and addressing any concerns you may have. 

We follow up with you in the hospital before discharge. About a week after the procedure, you’ll have a visit with your surgeon to check how you are healing. After that, you’ll see your surgeon and the weight management team at one, three, six and 12 months after the surgery. 

We also recommend a post-operative visit with a registered dietitian one month after your surgery. 

Here’s what patients typically experience after weight-loss surgery:

Postoperative eating schedule

  • In the hospital: Sugar-free, clear liquids only
  • Week 1: Sugar-free, clear liquids and protein shakes
  • Weeks 2-3: Full liquids including clear liquids, protein shakes and food such as Greek yogurt or strained soup. In addition, you will take vitamins. 
  • Week 3 and beyond: You receive a detailed post-surgery eating plan from our team for the next weeks and months.

Living well at home

Maintaining a healthier weight means making changes such as eating small, high-protein meals, getting daily exercise and keeping a diet and exercise diary. Your weight management team will provide nutrition and fitness guidance and help develop a plan tailored to your needs.

  • Exercise: We strongly encourage regular exercise. Long periods of sitting or resting increase your risk for blood clots.
  • Pace yourself: Feeling tired for several weeks after surgery is normal.
  • Lifting: Do not lift more than 10 pounds for at least the first two weeks after surgery. No heavy lifting for three weeks.
  • Stairs: Climb stairs in moderation.
  • Return to work: You work with your surgeon to determine when you can return to work. This decision is based on the type of weight-loss surgery you had and the physical demands of your job. Most people are typically out of work for two to three weeks.
  • Driving: No driving for one week post-surgery. You may want to make arrangements for your transportation home after surgery.

Support after weight-loss surgery

Our free bariatric patient support group meets monthly and welcomes anyone working to stay on track after surgery. Support groups are open to our patients’ loved ones as well.

Revision surgery

If you are experiencing complications after weight-loss surgery performed at another location, are not losing weight or have gained weight, you may need a revision surgery to correct the procedure. Talk to your surgeon to determine the best next steps.