Image on ground that says back to work


You’ve done your research, picked your surgeon, decided on your weight loss procedure and you’re officially scheduled for surgery – but do you know how much time you’ll need to take off from work? What about childcare? Will you need the help of a family member or loved one the first few days post-op? 

Rest and recovery time are crucial to any surgery, and bariatric surgery is no exception. Even with minimally invasive options like gastric sleeve surgery, you still have to plan for some down time. So what does the recovery process look like for gastric sleeve surgery?


How long will I be in the hospital after gastric sleeve surgery?


Due to the minimally invasive nature of gastric sleeve surgery, patients are typically discharged from the hospital within 1-3 days. In some cases, patients can even be discharged the same day as their surgery; however, this practice is less common and there must be no complications. 

During your time in the hospital, you will be monitored by staff, and tests will be administered to ensure there are no major leaks or issues with the incisions. Once you are cleared by your surgeon, you will be allowed to return home to continue your recovery process. 


Things to consider while recovering from gastric sleeve surgery at home


Before you leave the hospital, you will be given care instructions as well as a diet plan to follow. After undergoing a major surgery and consuming very few calories, it’s normal to feel exhausted. Your body will devote most of its energy to healing, so plan on resting quite a bit the first few days back home. 

Take into consideration the layout of your home. Are there stairs? If so, will you have to climb steps to get to your bedroom? How easy is it to get to the bathroom? While light activities like brief walks are recommended, climbing stairs and standing or walking for too long can be challenging so it is important to consider these questions ahead of time. 


How quickly can I return to work after gastric sleeve surgery? 


After gastric sleeve surgery, most patients can return to work within 1 week, and some patients return to work within 3-4 days. However, there are different factors that contribute to how quickly you can begin working again. 

These factors include:

  • Type of Work – Returning to a desk job is much different than returning to a job in construction. The physical demands and level of activity required to do your job will affect the amount of time you will need to take off. 
  • Overall Healing Process – Everyone heals differently and at their own pace. Returning to work is dependent on how your individual recovery goes and if you experience any complications that can cause the healing process to take longer.


How long will it take for my stomach to fully heal from gastric sleeve surgery?


There is a difference between returning to everyday activities and full recovery. As time passes after your surgery, you will gradually be able to begin eating more and taking on a more active lifestyle. Within a few weeks, you should start to feel less tired and get back into your normal routine. However, your stomach will still be healing. 

On average, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the incisions to heal and 6-8 weeks for the stomach staple line to heal. After one month, most people can begin a normal exercise routine and are well on the way to being fully recovered.


Common challenges during the gastric sleeve recovery process


Post-surgery side effects will vary and most go away over time, but adjusting to the new diet and lifestyle brings its own set of challenges. 

Here are a few things you may experience while recovering from gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Nausea – After surgery, you will have to re-learn how and what to eat. Your stomach will be a fraction of the size it used to be. As you gradually begin incorporating more food, especially solid food, you will have to determine what your stomach can handle. Eating or drinking too much or too fast can result in nausea or vomiting.  
  • Feeling Weak – Consuming less calories can cause you to feel weak or tired. As your body adjusts to the new diet, this feeling should dissipate. 
  • Aches and Pains – It is normal to experience some discomfort during your recovery process; however, aches and pains should lessen as time goes on. If pain continues or gets worse, you should talk to your doctor about possible causes and pain relief options.
  • Digestive Irregularities – You may experience side effects like constipation, diarrhea and gurgling noises coming from your stomach. These symptoms are usually diet-related and will improve over time.
  • Temporary Hair Loss and Skin Changes – Experiencing hair loss after surgery can be alarming, but it is temporary. The initial low calorie intake and rapid weight loss can cause hair thinning, as well as hormonal changes which can contribute to changes in skin texture and acne. To minimize these effects, take a multivitamin regularly and make sure you are consuming enough daily protein based on your diet plan.   


Why choose gastric sleeve surgery? 


Gastric sleeve surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can help you lose weight and keep it off. Because it is performed laparoscopically, there is a shorter recovery time than other bariatric surgeries, allowing you to resume your normal daily life sooner. To learn more about gastric sleeve surgery and the recovery process, schedule a consultation with us. 



Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery is a caring group of professionals who specialize in all types of bariatric surgery.  Our surgeon Dr. Jay Long has highly specialized training in bariatric surgery, having completed a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he focused on taking care of patients that are morbidly obese.  And we are so proud of our pricing that we publish the costs right on the front page of our website!  Insurance won’t pay?  We have a variety of financing options we can offer you so that you are able to get the healthy body you’ve wanted for years.  Visit us today at or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.