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Discharge Instructions for Bariatric (Obesity) Surgery

You have had a procedure called bariatric surgery. During this procedure, your doctor surgically changed your stomach so it can only hold a small amount of food at one time, absorb a certain amount of food at one time, or both. This can help you lose weight and decrease your risk for health problems, such as diabetes, respiratory problems, and coronary artery disease. This surgery will make it difficult for you to eat large amounts of solid foods. After the surgery, you must eat very small meals. Eating too much food, or eating it too fast, may cause unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting.

Changes in How You Eat

  • Follow the diet that was prescribed for you in the hospital. 

  • Drink liquids in smaller amounts than you used to. This will make it easier for your body to digest liquids. But, it is important that you continue to drink liquids (in small amounts) so that you do not become dehydrated. Some signs of dehydration include dry mouth and dark urine.

  • Eat slowly. Eating too much or too fast will cause nausea and vomiting.

  • Avoid the unpleasant effects of dumping syndrome. The syndrome refers to abdominal pain, nausea, and bloating that occur after eating foods high in sugar, such as ice cream and milkshakes, following a bariatric procedure. Diarrhea, sweating, racing heartbeat, and fainting can also occur. So avoid foods that could cause this.

  • Take chewable vitamins and or minerals, as your health care provider prescribed.  


  • Keep in mind that recovery takes several weeks. It is normal to feel tired. Rest as needed.

  • Walk as often as you feel able. Increase your activity slowly.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds.

  • Avoid strenuous chores, such as vacuuming or lifting full bags of garbage, until your doctor says it’s okay.

  • Climb stairs slowly and pause after every few steps.

  • Start an exercise program 1 week(s) after discharge. You can benefit from simple activities, such as walking or gardening. Ask your doctor how and when to get started.

  • Ask your doctor when you can expect to return to work.

Home Care

  • Continue the coughing and deep breathing exercises you learned in the hospital.

  • Shower as needed. But avoid baths, swimming pools, and hot tubs for 2 weeks after going home. This helps prevent infection of the incision site.

  • Keep the incision clean and dry. Wash the incision gently with mild soap and warm water. Then gently pat the incision dry with a towel.

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about caring for the dressing covering your incisions.

  • If your doctor used Steri-Strips (small white adhesive strips) to close the incision, do not remove them. Let the strips fall off on their own. If they don’t come off within 2 weeks after you were sent home, call your doctor.

  • Take your medications in crushed or liquid form for 3 weeks after surgery and as instructed.

  • Keep in mind that your medications will need to be adjusted as you lose weight.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor which readings mean that you need medical attention.

  • Don’t drive for 2 weeks after surgery and until you are off all narcotic pain medication.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Cloudy or smelly drainage from the incision site

  • Redness, pain, or increased swelling at the incision site

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or shaking chills

  • Fast pulse

  • Night sweats

  • Persistent pain, nausea, or vomiting after eating

  • Diarrhea beyond the first week after discharge

  • Pain in your upper back, chest, or left shoulder

  • Persistent hiccups

  • Confusion, depression, or unusual fatigue

  • Signs of bladder infection (urinating more often than usual; burning, pain, bleeding, or hesitancy when you urinate)


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