If you’re considering weight loss surgery, you may be worried about recovery time. After all, taking time off work can be stressful, and you may be concerned about how much work you’ll miss. While it’s true that weight loss surgery is a significant procedure, bariatric surgery recovery time and getting back to work is relatively minimal.

That being said, the benefits are well worth the time and effort, especially if you’re obese or morbidly obese. By making the commitment to improve your health and well-being, you’ll likely find that the sacrifices you make during the recovery period are well worth the long-term results.

Bariatric Surgery Recovery Time: Back to Work

There are a number of factors that can determine how quickly you’re able to return to work after the surgery, including how your body heals and the type of work you do. But with careful planning and the guidance of your healthcare team, you’ll be well prepared to tackle this exciting new chapter in your life.

The recovery time for bariatric surgery can vary depending on the specific type of procedure performed, how the procedure is performed (laparoscopic or open), and individual factors such as overall health and healing ability. Generally, patients can expect a recovery period of about two to six weeks before they can resume most normal activities, including work.

Here’s a general timeline of the recovery process:

Hospital Stay
After bariatric surgery, patients usually stay in the hospital for a few days post-op to monitor their condition and ensure there are no complications. However, many patients are able to get up and carefully move around after a night of rest, even sooner in some cases. We find most patients are able to resume normal activities (walking, grocery shopping, driving, etc.) after just a few days.

The First Weeks
During the first few weeks after surgery, patients are on a liquid or pureed diet to allow the stomach to heal. They may experience some discomfort and need to rest at home during this time. Patients will also need time to get used to new routines, stay hydrated, and carefully follow specific diet plans.

Physical Activity
Initially, patients are advised to take short walks to aid in healing and prevent blood clots. As the recovery progresses, they can slowly increase their physical activity. Regular follow-up visits with the surgical team are essential to monitor progress and address any concerns.

When it comes to going back to work, it depends on the nature of your job and how physically demanding it is. Generally, most patients can return to sedentary or desk-based work 1 week after surgery. However, if your job involves carrying people out of burning buildings (or similar) heavy lifting or strenuous physical activiy, you may need to wait longer, usually 2-3 weeks or more, before going back to work.

Keep in mind that every individual’s recovery is unique, and it’s crucial to follow the specific guidelines given by your surgeon to ensure a safe and successful recovery. There are also differences in surgery techniques, as laparoscopic and open surgeries are quite different.

Laparoscopic vs Open Surgery: Bariatric Surgery Recovery Time

Although most WeightWise bariatric surgeries are done laparoscopically, there are still some weight loss surgeries that need an open incision. Here are the differences between the two surgeries and how they affect recovery times:

  • Technique
  • Procedure
  • Benefits
  • Recovery Time


Laparoscopic surgery is a remarkable medical procedure that has made surgery safer and more efficient. This minimally invasive procedure involves making small incisions in the abdomen, through which a laparoscope, equipped with a camera and surgical instruments, is inserted.

The surgeon is then able to navigate the insides of the body with great precision, greatly reducing the risks of complications and the length of the recovery period. As a result, patients who undergo laparoscopic surgery usually experience less pain, less scarring, and a quicker return to their normal activities than those who have traditional surgery.

With open surgery, surgeons make a single large incision in the abdomen to directly access the surgical area. This method is in contrast to laparoscopic surgery, which uses small incisions and a camera to guide the surgical instruments. This type of incision is necessary for patients with extremely high body mass index (BMI) and other circumstances, but is very uncommon in our practice.

Although open surgery involves a larger incision, it can provide a more direct and clearer view of the surgical area, allowing for precise and thorough work. It’s important to note that while open surgery can lead to a longer recovery time than minimally invasive procedures, it is still a valuable and effective option for some patients.


With laparoscopic weight loss surgery, the surgeon operates by watching a video feed from a laparoscope. This means that there is no need for a large incision, as the surgeon can still obtain a magnified view of the surgical site. This approach to surgery may also help reduce recovery time and minimize complications.

When it comes to an open incision procedure, traditional surgical instruments are utilized and provide the surgeon with a direct view of the surgical site. This means that the surgeon has a clear and unobstructed view of the area they are operating on, allowing them to make precise incisions to ensure the best outcome possible.


With advances in technology, laparoscopic surgery has become a popular option for many patients. This type of surgery typically results in smaller scars, less pain, reduced blood loss, and a shorter hospital stay compared to open surgery. What’s more, the recovery time is often quicker as well.

However, there are instances where open surgery may be preferred. Healthcare professionals may recommend open surgery for patients with certain medical conditions that deem laparoscopic surgery riskier. Ultimately, by understanding the benefits and limitations of both types of surgery, patients can make an informed decision about which surgical option is best for their specific needs.

Recovery Time

Weight loss surgery can be life-changing for many individuals struggling with obesity. However, the recovery process can be just as important as the procedure itself. For laparoscopic weight loss surgery, patients can expect a recovery time of about 1 to 2 weeks
2 to 4 weeks before they can return to work and resume normal activities.

The recovery time for open weight loss surgery is longer, taking about 4 to 6 weeks or more, which pushes back when you can return to work. To ensure a smooth recovery process, it’s important to follow the post-operative guidelines provided by bariatric surgeons and their surgical teams. While recovery time can vary for each patient, it’s essential to take the necessary time to heal and allow your body to adjust to the changes.

Work With the Weight Loss Surgery Experts

For decades, WeightWise has been performing gastric banding (lap band), gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and gastric sleeve surgeries and helping patients achieve their weight-loss goals. In the past, bariatric surgery required a lot of bed rest and had side effects that kept patients from returning to work for long periods of time.

Today, our surgeons use the latest techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to get our patients up and living their lives much sooner. If you’re interested in learning more about bariatric surgery recovery time and getting back to work, please watch our online seminar. Then take our free bariatric surgery assessment to see if you’re a candidate.

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