What to Expect During Bariatric Surgery

When you know what to expect for weight loss surgery, you set yourself up for successful results. At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, our dedicated weight loss specialists are committed to helping you succeed in your health and weight loss goals. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to maximize your results while supporting you every step of the way.

Weight loss surgery: Attend a free information session

Are you ready to lose weight and improve your life? At one of our free information sessions, you can meet our weight loss specialists and learn more about bariatric surgery options. Find a session near you by calling (412) 235-5900 (select option 1).

Bariatric surgery: What to expect

Before surgery

Shortly before your surgery day, someone from our office will call you. We will tell you when and where to arrive for your procedure. We recommend you leave all valuables at home, including jewelry.

Your surgery day

Bringing certain items from home may make your stay more comfortable. We recommend you bring:

  • An overnight bag with toiletries, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap
  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to wear home

After you check in at the hospital on your surgery day, here’s what you can expect:

  1. You will change into a hospital gown and slippers. We will ask you to remove your dentures, hearing aids, and corrective lenses.
  2. A nurse will place an intravenous line (IV) in your arm while you are in the pre-operative area. Your surgeon and anesthesia team will meet with you and your family to answer any last-minute questions you may have.
  3. We will wheel you back to the operating room and connect you to a variety of monitors. These monitors allow us to watch you closely during the procedure.
  4. Our anesthesiologist will give you medications through your IV to help you relax and put you to sleep.
  5. After you are asleep, our team will carefully place an endotracheal tube through your mouth into your windpipe to help you breathe. You will be asleep when this happens.
  6. Your surgery begins.

Immediately after the surgery is completed:

  1. You will wake up in the operating room while being cared for by our compassionate nurses.
  2. Our team will move you to a recovery room, which allows us to closely monitor you.
  3. Your surgeon will update your family on your progress.
  4. Once your vital signs are stable, we will transfer you to an inpatient room, where you can continue your recovery in comfort.
  5. Our nursing staff will help you get out of bed the evening after surgery and let you sit in a chair.

Your hospital stay

Here’s what you can expect during your hospital stay:

  • Length of hospital stay: Most of our bariatric patients stay in the hospital for one night. How long you stay in the hospital depends on your health and circumstances. Nurses will monitor your health around-the-clock. In the days after surgery, your surgeon will assess your progress.
  • Walking after surgery: During your stay, we’ll encourage you to walk several times per day. Walking and breathing exercises can help speed your recovery and prevent complications.
  • Pain management: While some pain is normal after surgery, we’ll help you manage pain through IV or other medications, as necessary.
  • Bariatric surgery diet: Your physician may recommend a clear liquid diet starting the day after surgery. Sipping fluids slowly can keep you from getting dehydrated.
  • Heading home: Your surgical team will discharge you from the hospital when it’s safe to do so. You will be given specific post-operative instructions and prescriptions. We’ll answer any questions you have before you go home.

Is bariatric surgery painful?

Having some pain or discomfort in the first few days after bariatric surgery is completely normal. Our surgeons are skilled in minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques, which means they use tiny incisions for many procedures. This approach leads to less pain after surgery and a quicker recovery.

After surgery, our care team will work closely with you to manage any discomfort you may have. Most people go home from the hospital a few days after weight loss surgery and feel back to normal within two to four weeks.

What to expect after weight loss surgery

We’ll schedule your first follow-up appointment for one to two weeks after surgery. This appointment’s purpose is to check in on your health and progress. You will also have regular health and wellness visits after surgery, with full access to our support groups.

Your life after weight loss surgery will change in several ways. You’ll progress from a liquid diet to small meals with recommended foods. Most people are back to work within two to four weeks, but your circumstances will be unique to you. And we will support you in every way to ensure you have a successful recovery.

Get more details about life after bariatric surgery.

Types of bariatric surgery we offer

The specifics of your surgery will depend on your overall health and circumstances. Each type of bariatric surgery is different. Your care team will explain everything you need to know so you feel confident in your care.

Find out more details about the weight loss surgeries performed at AHN, including:

Contact us

Schedule or find out more about our bariatric surgery services by calling (412) 235-5900 (select option 1).