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Returning to Work after Bariatric Surgery

Returning to work after bariatric surgery, like any other milestone after surgery, depends on the patient’s progress in recovery and the procedure the patient has undergone. Patients who are showing excellent signs in recovery will likely be able to return to work sooner than those who are having difficulty recovering from the procedure. Slow recovery could be due, in part, to age and/or genetics, both of which play a part in recovery after any surgical procedure.

Nature of Work: The nature of work will also determine, in part, how long it will take for the patient to receive clearance from their surgeon to return to work. For example, patients who have very strenuous or active jobs may have to wait longer to ensure that the activity or strain does not cause any complications that require additional medical care.

Type of Procedure: The procedure the patient chooses will help determine how long it will take before they are able to return to their job. Gastric banding patients should be able to return to work sooner. This is because there is no cutting of the stomach or rerouting of the small intestine, meaning overall recovery time may be significantly reduced. Once again, this is partly determined by the patient’s ability to recover and their willingness to follow their post surgical guidelines. Due to the more invasive nature of stapled procedures, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass patients will likely have to wait longer before returning to work. Again, this number will be adjusted depending on the patient’s progress and whether or not the surgeon believes that the patient can safely return to their line of work.

In general, most patients return to work about 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

No matter what time period is given for a patient to return to work, it is very important that the patient follow their surgeon’s guidelines. In the end, if the patient returns to work too soon and has complications as a result, it will likely result in having to be off work for much longer. Surgeon’s guidelines are specifically made to allow patients to heal as fast as possible and allow them to resume their normal lives as soon as possible after the procedure.

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