Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of weight loss surgery. With the use of minimally invasive techniques, many patients return to many of their pre-surgery activities within two to four weeks of their procedure.
The time it takes to go back to work depends on the progression of your recovery as well as the type of work that you do. Those in generally sedentary lines of work who are not required to perform heavy lifting will be back at work the soonest. Those with strenuous jobs should wait until fully cleared by our team as serious complications can occur if you lift too much too soon.
In the first several weeks after surgery, avoid lifting more than 15 pounds and ideally, even less. It is important to note that once you have returned to work, you should try to use your environment to your benefit.
There are many distractions and stresses that can make it harder to keep an eye on your diet and weight loss. When you’re back at work, consider the following:
- Don’t skip breakfast before work.
- If possible, get up from your desk and walk around the office periodically.
- Work with your employer to implement a company wide “better health” program.
- Bring your lunch with you from home or prepare for restaurant lunches in advance. If you have some free time during your lunch hour, take a walk outside.
- Head off stress by getting enough sleep before a big meeting and performing de-stressing exercises when you feel anxiety coming on.
- Avoid coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks – rather,sip from a water bottle regularly to stay hydrated and energized. It is tempting to try to get right back into the swing of things the minute you feel up to it. But overexerting is not the best course of action. Be sure to go back to work only when you and your surgeon feel you are ready. And once back at work; be sure to follow your diet and exercise plan.
Follow-Up Appointments and Check-Ups
Successful surgery includes plenty of follow-up care. Your surgeon needs to check your healing and see that you’re recovering safely. Ask when to return for your first follow-up visit and whom to call to make an appointment. In general, however, you will follow an appointment schedule similar to the one below:
- 1 week – follow-up to check on recovery, discuss next steps
- 1 month – general check-up. Discuss activities and going back to work
- 3 months – general check-up with lab tests
- 6 months – general check-up with weight loss progress and labs
- 9 months – general check-up with lab tests
- 12 months – general check-up with weight loss progress and labs
- 18 months – general check-up with lab tests
Starting at year two, you will visit our office on an annual basis, unless you have a specific concern that requires an appointment sooner. Your 18-month or two-year appointment may also be a good time to discuss any cosmetic procedures or pregnancy planning with your surgeon. If you are a gastric banding patient, you will likely need additional appointments to change the restriction of your band.
You will be asked to attend a monthly support group. This is critically important to your longer-term weight loss success. You will be in contact with other patients who have experience with what you are currently navigating. It also gives you an opportunity to connect with our office as one of our coordinators, nurses, dietitians or surgeons will be in attendance. If you’ve been taking medications for diabetes, heart disease or some other condition, ask your doctor about taking them while you recover. This can help you avoid side effects. Do not modify your medication regimen without specific instruction from your surgeon or primary care physician. Please let us know about any significant life changes or medical issues you have experienced between appointments.