returning to work after weight loss surgeryWith surgeon expertise continuing to improve, weight loss surgery recovery becomes both easier and shorter for a majority of patients. All recovery time is different. The speediness of recovery directly impacts time off work  – which will vary from patient to patient.1

The real thing to remember is to have patience and go through recovery at your own pace. You know your body the best – so listen to it and don’t push it too far as it can detrimental to complications, risks, and weight loss!

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For gastric sleeve surgery patients, returning to work can be in as little as 5 to 15 days after the operation. Sometimes sooner but sometimes longer, just practice self-care. More invasive procedures, like duodenal switch and gastric bypass, generally take longer to heal and to be able to return to work.

After your bariatric operation, you might have low energy and is a good idea to work half days or every other day for the first one or two week(s).

The type of job you have is a strong factor in how long before you can go back to work. For example, patients in construction may need twice as long to recover than patients who work at a desk all day due to lifting restrictions. Exercise, on the other hand, is much different.2

Return to Work Surgery Comparison

These are averages based on our patient’s past experience. You must follow your individual doctor’s orders.

Job TypeGastric SleeveGastric BypassDuodenal SwitchMini BypassGastric Balloon
Sitting1 to 2 weeks1 to 3 weeks2 to 3 weeks1 to 3 weeks1 to 2 weeks
Stand/Walk~2 weeks~2 to 3 weeks~2 to 4 weeks~2 to 3 weeks~2 weeks
Fast-Paced2 to 4 weeks2 to 4 weeks2 to 4 weeks2 to 4 weeks2 to 4 weeks
Lifting4 to 8+ weeks4 to 8+ weeks4 to 8+ weeks4 to 8+ weeks4 to 8+ weeks

How to Speed Up Weight Loss Surgery Recovery

With the advancement of laparoscopic surgery – rather than open incision – recovery is much faster across all procedures. That being said, bariatric surgery is still a major operation. There are no shortcuts to recovering and it’s always best to listen to your surgeon and primary care physician.

  1. Walk around throughout the day (prevents blood clots and improves circulation)
  2. Drink water (64+ ounces per day)
  3. Get proper rest
  4. No driving, no sex, no climbing, no swimming until recovered
  5. No work 2 weeks post-op
  6. no lifting more than 15 lbs until at least 2-4 weeks post-op
  7. no lifting more than 30 lbs until at least 4-8 weeks post-op

Amount of Leave Time Needed from Work

Your surgery provider should fill out an FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)3 for time off work. Usually stating that you (the patient) “will be incapacitated for a single continuous period of time due to his/her medical condition, including any time for treatment and recovery”

Estimate the beginning and ending dates for the period of incapacity:

  • Beginning = Date of Surgery
  • End = 2 weeks later