What to expect after bariatric surgery

Undergoing bariatric surgery can bring major changes to your life, including rapid weight loss and a healthier, slimmer body. After weight-loss surgery, many of our patients feel better and are able to reduce (or completely eliminate) the side effects of obesity-related diseases. 

The real work for our patients, however, begins after surgery ends, and we provide guidelines for each patient to follow, tailored to their specific case. We'll also provide education and guidance before, during and after your surgery and work with each patient to make sure they're prepared for the changes that lie ahead.

Going home after surgery

While each patient is different and recovery will vary based on the individual, the typical patient is able to go home within 24-36 hours after their procedure. In some cases, we may ask patients to stay longer so we can continue to monitor their progress more closely. If asked to stay, each of our patient suites can accommodate one family member overnight.

Your daily routine after surgery

Life after surgery will vary by person and success is truly dependent on how closely you follow your recommended after care program. Many aspects of your daily routine may vary, but below are some of the more typical cases and answers to questions we normally receive. For more information about other aspects of your daily routine not discussed below, please call our office and talk with one of our new patient liaisons at (559) 433-6010.

After some bariatric procedures, alcohol is transferred to the blood stream at a much faster rate than normal. Faster absorption of alcohol causes alcohol levels to rise at a much faster rate than someone who has not undergone gastric bypass or another bariatric procedure.

Generally, our program does not recommend patients drink alcohol at all. If a patient desires to continue drinking alcohol, however, our recommendations are:

  1. Consume in moderation (one drink) and drink at a slower pace than before your procedure

  2. Do not consume alcohol before driving or operating any motor vehicle

  3. Do not consume alcohol with any of your prescribed medications


In general, smoking has multiple negative effects on health including increased risk of heart attack, stroke and lung cancer. Our program recommends that any patient who smokes should plan to quit at the same time they undergo bariatric surgery.

With regard to surgery, use of tobacco will reduce blood flow to small vessels throughout the body. It's believed that smoking around the time of surgery can increase the risk of leaks which can be a life threatening complication for some surgical options.

Our team is happy to discuss any questions about additional risks of consuming alcohol or smoking related to bariatric surgery. We recommend that patients who smoke and drink should make every effort to give up both prior to undergoing surgery.

After your procedure, your diet will completely change. Most patients will be required to follow a clear liquid, low sugar diet for the first seven days following their operation. Solid foods will slowly be worked back into your diet.

A full nutrition plan and guide will be provided to each patient and will be customized based on that individual's overall health needs.

Typically, patients are able to operate a motor vehicle within five days of leaving the hospital. Some patients have different responses to their operation, however.

Our team recommends that patients drive only if they can turn the wheel and apply the brakes in an emergency setting. If they can't, we recommend the patient should not attempt to drive until they feel safe to do so.

Typically, patients are allowed to shower using soap and water once bandages have been removed, approximately 48 hours after surgery.

Patients shouldn't completely submerge their incisions in a bath or swimming pool until at least three weeks after their procedure.

Typically, patients that work in an office setting are able to return to work within 10-14 days of leaving the hospital. For patients that have physically demanding jobs, our team will provide guidance and lifting limitations, as appropriate.

Office hours

Monday-Friday | 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday | 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital
15 East Audubon Drive
Fresno, CA 93720

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