Post-Surgery Recovery for 3 Popular Weight Loss Surgeries

Weight Loss Surgery

The amount of time spent away from work and other activities is a major consideration for patients undergoing weight loss surgery. Lap band surgery, gastric sleeve, and gastric balloon procedures are popular surgical weight loss solutions which vary in the amount of time the patient must commit to preparation, surgery and recovery.

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric Sleeve surgery is the most effective but also the most time-consuming form of weight loss surgery. This procedure involves removing most of the stomach, leaving the patient with a small sleeve-like stomach approximately the size of banana. The operation can be performed either through a large abdominal incision or by using laparoscopic instruments inserted through multiple small incisions. This surgery is also often covered under health care plans.

Preparation for gastric sleeve surgery involves lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and an altered diet but should not restrict the patient from normal activities. The surgery takes about two hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Patients should expect a hospital stay of one or two days but several weeks of recovery time are required before they can return to work.

Lap Band

Lap band surgery is a less radical approach to weight loss surgery that is a better option for patients who want a faster recovery time. Instead of removing part of the stomach, an adjustable band is placed around the stomach during a laparoscopic surgery which takes about an hour. Most patients go home the same day as their surgery but some have a hospital stay of one or two nights. A hospital stay is recommended for high-risk patients and those who had complications during the surgery.

Patients may go back to work and resume most normal activities just two or three weeks after lap band surgery, but should wait at least six weeks before lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous exercise. The lap band will need to be adjusted several times in the first year following surgery, so patients should factor those doctor visits into their schedules.

Gastric Balloon

The gastric balloon procedure is a new weight loss solution that comes with very little down time because it is non-invasive. A balloon made of silicone is placed in the patient’s stomach through the mouth and filled with either a gas or liquid. The balloon takes up space in the stomach, limiting the amount of food the patient can ingest, and can be left in place for up to six months.

The gastric balloon procedure can be performed under general or local anesthesia and takes about half an hour to complete. Patients can resume normal activities as soon as the effects of the anesthesia wear off, which can be a few hours for local anesthetic or up to a day for general anesthesia. It is important for patients to adjust their lifestyle to maintain weight loss. Weight loss surgery will not work without a healthy diet and active livestyle.