What to Expect After Surgery

The following schedule is based on a typical course of recovery after Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, and/or Adjustable Gastric Banding.  Your post operative course may differ slightly depending on your needs.  


All patients are expected to get out of bed the evening after surgery.  Bypass and sleeve patients will NOT be allowed to have anything to eat or drink, but we will provide you with mouth swabs so that you may wet your mouth.  If you do not have a urinary catheter, you are expected to get up and use the restroom – a bedpan will not be used.  IV pain and nausea medication will be given to you as needed.

Band patients will go home from the recovery room, but do remember to get up and move around as much as you can at home.Doctor Balette | Houston Bariatric Surgeon


In the morning, we expect that you will feel fairly comfortable.  You may still be somewhat sleepy.  This is normal after anesthesia.  If you were nauseated yesterday, you should be feeling better today.  Most patients do not feel nauseated by this time.  If you have one, the urinary catheter will be removed around 6 am.  You may be feeling thirsty.  Until you are cleared by your surgeon to begin oral fluids, you can use lip balm or mouth swabs to ease the discomfort of a dry mouth.  

You will go to X-ray for a gastrografin swallow study to evaluate your new stomach pouch and check for any leaks.  You will stand for this X-ray.  Please remind the Radiologist that you can only drink a small amount (about a small mouthful) of contrast.  Straws are NOT allowed, and do not gulp it.  The Radiologist and your surgeon will evaluate your X-ray.  If everything is ok, you will be allowed to start a Bariatric Clear Liquid Diet.  You may not take in more than 30cc (a medicine cup full) of liquid every 15 minutes.  Take only as much as your body can tolerate.  If you begin to feel full or nauseated, STOP.  Remember. . . YOUR STOMACH IS MUCH SMALLER NOW!  

For bypass patients, once you are tolerating liquids, your PCA pump will be stopped and you will start on oral pain medication.  Your IV will may be continued through the day to support your need for fluid intake. The nurses will have you urinate in a special “hat” in the toilet or in a urinal so they can monitor your urine output.  

Your job for the day is to go for several walks out in the hall and to work hard on deep breathing and coughing.  It is uncomfortable to cough.  It will be helpful to press a pillow against your abdomen.  This provides counter pressure and will help with pain when you cough.  You are expected to sit up in the chair during all meal times.  You need to continue using your incentive spirometer at least every 2 hours.

For Gastric Sleeve patients, if your pain is under control with oral pain medicine, you are urinating, and you are tolerating your clear liquid diet without vomiting, you will be discharged home.  


You should be more awake today if you were still sleepy yesterday.  You should be tolerating your clear liquid diet without nausea/ vomiting, and you pain should be under control with the use of oral pain medication.  You are expected to be walking in the hall every couple of hours and out of bed for all meals.  

If your vital signs are normal, your pain is controlled with the use of oral pain medication, you are urinating well, and you are tolerating your clear liquid diet without nausea/vomiting you will be discharged home.


It is important for you and your family to realize that your strength and stamina will be decreased as you recover from major surgery.  You may experience episodes of nausea and exhaustion.  Pace yourself as you increase your activity.  You need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  

Most people do not experience any difficulty, but sometimes unexpected new symptoms can develop.  If you develop any unresolved nausea, vomiting, fever or severe pain that is not relieved with medication, please call the surgeon’s office.  Sometimes a simple phone call can solve the problem.  

Feel Free to Contact our offices if you have more questions.