Skip to main content


Bariatric surgery is a big step toward improving your health and wellness. But the process doesn’t end after your surgery. Our team will be by your side while you recover and as you begin a new, healthier lifestyle.

Here are some things to know about the days immediately after your surgery:

Right after surgery

You may feel some discomfort after surgery. A patient controlled analgesia pump will be provided for you with instructions on how to relieve your pain. This will be discontinued once you are able to tolerate liquids. Any necessary medications will be administered via your IV line.

You’ll be given an incentive spirometer – a device to help keep your lungs clear after surgery. Remember to take deep breaths and to use the device approximately 10 times per hour.

If prior to surgery you’ve been using a CPAP or BIPAP machine to treat sleep apnea, it is important that you use it after surgery until your doctor decides it is no longer necessary.

Several hours after your surgery, you will be able to begin walking. This will decrease the risk of pneumonia and blood clots. Take it slow and stop when you become tired or fatigued. It is important to walk several times throughout the day.

At home

When you're at home, gradually increase your activities. You can climb stairs, but go slowly and hold on to the handrails. Don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery while you are taking pain medications, as they contain narcotics that could impair your judgment. And no heavy lifting or pulling for six to eight weeks.

You can shower starting the second day after surgery, but you should not take a tub bath or go into a pool for at least four weeks after surgery.

The bandage strips covering your incisions will fall off in approximately one to two weeks. Do not put lotion or creams on your incision without consulting with your doctor first.

You can use a chewable gas relief product like Gas-X for gas pains. Use soluble fiber products like Benefiber or Metamucil for constipation. If your constipation does not resolve, you may also use a docusate sodium stool softener like Colace.

Take your incentive spirometer home and use it at least five times a day for approximately seven to 10 days after surgery.

Contact us immediately if you experience:

  • Inability to swallow liquids
  • Excessive vomiting/diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Sharp abdominal pain and distention
  • Redness/warmth or foul smelling drainage from your incisions with increased pain

Dietary guidelines and supplements

In the days right after your bariatric surgery, you’ll need to be very careful about what you consume. To stay on track for a good recovery, here is what you’ll need to do:

Dietary guidelines

Remember that when you get home, you will be following a liquid diet. If you had lap band surgery, you will follow it for two weeks. If you had gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, you will follow it for one week.

Our team will advise you on the type of protein drink that will make up the most important part of your diet. Drinking these should be your first priority, followed by water, skim or 1 percent milk, chicken broth, decaf tea, and sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages like Crystal Light and Wyler’s Light. Sip on these things over the course of the day, with the goal of 4 ounces of fluid per hour. Remember to sip slowly. Don’t gulp, and don’t sip with a straw.

Taking your medications

Regardless of whether you had lap band, gastric bypass, or gastric sleeve surgery, you can take crushed medications with unsweetened applesauce, sugar-free pudding, or low-fat/low-sugar vanilla yogurt, like Dannon Light & Fit. Do not mix medications in milk or protein shakes. Not all medications should be crushed. Please consult the guide provided by the nurse practitioner.

Vitamins and minerals

Anyone having bariatric surgery will need to take vitamins after surgery. But there are differences in how to take them depending on the procedure you had:

Lap band patients:

Your vitamins must be chewable for one month following surgery. When you arrive home, here’s what you should take:

  • A chewable multivitamin, two times a day. This can be an adult or children’s version. If you are still menstruating, your multivitamin should include iron.
  • A chewable 600mg calcium plus vitamin D, two times a day. Make sure you separate your calcium from your multivitamin with iron by two or more hours.

Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients:

Your vitamins must be chewable for three months following surgery. When you arrive home, here’s what you should take:

  • A chewable multivitamin, two times a day. This can be an adult or children’s version. Regardless of your gender or age, it must have at least 18mg of iron in it.
  • A chewable 600mg calcium plus vitamin D, two times a day. Make sure you separate your calcium from your multivitamin with iron by two or more hours.
  • A sublingual (under the tongue) 500-1000mcg vitamin B-12, once a day.

Long term postsurgical diet

You made a big change when you had bariatric surgery—a lifetime commitment to better health.

If you had your surgery more than six months ago, don’t forget these general guidelines to keep yourself on track:

  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly—20 to 25 times before swallowing.
  • Focus on protein at each meal. This includes low-fat dairy, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, nuts and nut butter, and soy/tofu.
  • Eat three small meals each day. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals will lead to overeating at your next meal or nibbling during the day.
  • Stay hydrated. Sip on water or sugar-free, non-carbonated drinks in between your meals.
  • Make sure foods like chicken or meat are very moist and soft and that you chew them well.
  • Be careful with fibrous vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and string beans. They are difficult to break down and may upset your stomach.
  • Toast all breads for the first year and a half. Crackers and wraps don’t need to be toasted.
  • Get moving! Try your best to establish a regular exercise routine by doing things like walking, cycling or exercise videos at home. Go at your own pace and build up your activity level over time.
  • Check in with us regularly. We can help you maintain your lifestyle changes and continue with successful, healthy weight loss and maintenance. If you had lap band surgery, we’ll work together to see if you need an adjustment.  
  • Continue to take vitamins and minerals.

Support groups

You’re starting a lifetime journey toward better health, and one of the best ways to stay on track is to surround yourself with people who support your goals. It’s been shown that patients who participate in support groups after bariatric surgery have a greater chance of weight-loss success than those who don’t.

Our bariatric surgery support group sessions allow you to: 

  • Meet people who’ve had bariatric surgery and want to share their experiences and knowledge
  • Discuss the changes in diet and lifestyle you’ll be making
  • Learn to manage the emotional changes you may be feeling

Our care for you doesn’t end once your bariatric surgery is complete. It continues for a lifetime.

Our program offers monthly support group meetings.

To learn more, call (718) 226-1300.

Go to top