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Recovering from weight loss surgery

How to recover from weight loss surgery

When you'll leave hospital after surgery

You can usually leave hospital 1 to 3 days after having weight loss surgery. After 4 to 6 weeks start to return to your normal activities.

If you've had a gastric band fitted, you'll be given a follow-up appointment where the band will be adjusted based on your food intake and weight loss.

How and what you eat

Having a smaller stomach means you must make changes to the way you eat and drink after the operation.

You'll need to:

  • eat slowly, chew carefully and only eat small amounts at a time – particularly during the early stages of your recovery
  • avoid, or be careful when eating, foods that could block your stomach, such as soft white bread
  • take vitamin and mineral supplements

You'll also be given a diet plan to follow after surgery. These vary from person to person, but a typical plan after surgery is:

  • first 2 weeks – water and fluids (for example, thin soup)
  • weeks 3 and 4 – runny food (for example, yoghurt or puréed food)
  • weeks 5 to 8 – soft food (for example, mashed potato)
  • week 8 onwards – gradually return to a healthy, balanced diet


You may be given an exercise plan to help prevent weight loss leading to muscle loss. The exercise plan will usually involve increasing your activity levels gradually as you recover from surgery.

Follow-up appointments

You'll be asked to attend regular follow-up appointments for the rest of your life.

These will usually be in a weight loss surgery clinic for at least the first 2 years. This may then change to a check-up with a GP once a year for the rest of your life.

Follow-up appointments may involve:

  • blood tests to check your vitamin and mineral levels
  • a physical health check
  • advice and support about diet and exercise
  • emotional or psychological support

Pregnancy after weight loss surgery

You're advised to avoid pregnancy for 12 to 18 months after surgery, until your weight has stabilised. This is because the effects of rapid weight loss on a developing baby are not yet understood.

Your fertility may increase because of weight loss.


Weight loss surgery can make it harder for your gut to absorb vitamins and minerals from food, so there's a risk you could become malnourished.

There are not always any symptoms, but they can include:


  • eat a balanced diet to help reduce the risk of malnutrition

  • take extra nutritional supplements if you've been told to

  • attend regular blood tests and appointments after surgery to measure your vitamin and mineral levels and treat any problems

Page last reviewed: 5 February 2024
Next review due: 5 February 2027