Stomach Surgery Recovery

Stomach Surgery Recovery

Stomach surgery takes place hundreds of times each day in the UK and is used to treat a variety of conditions. Common forms of stomach surgeries are:

  • Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery)
  • Hernia surgery
  • Ulcer removal surgery

Most abdominal surgical procedures today are carried out using a technique known as laparoscopic or keyhole surgery. This technique has meant that the overall stomach surgery recovery timescale has improved greatly over previous years when open surgery was the norm.

Undergoing any kind of stomach surgery is risky and there are chances of side effects and complications occurring which can affect recovery time. How fast a person recovers from an operation will depend on the type of operation carried out and how well the person’s body is able to respond to treatment.


Most stomach surgery operations are performed using general anaesthesia this will mean that the patient is asleep during surgery. Sometimes, such as in certain hernia operations local anaesthetic is used which will numb the area being operated on but allow you to remain conscious. The effects of the anaesthesia are the first part of stomach surgery recovery.

The effects of general anaesthesia impact on co-ordination and reasoning skills and surgeons will recommend that you do not drink alcohol, drive, sign legal documents or operate large and heavy machinery for 48 hours after the anaesthesia was used. Local anaesthesia does not have the same impact but patients are likely to be affected for a number of hours after the operation.

Hospital stay after surgery

A part of the stomach surgery recovery process will generally be spent in hospital, the length of time your hospital stay extend will depend on the type of operation that you have undergone and when the surgeon feels you are well enough to leave. For a procedure such as a gastric balloon it is likely that no stay in hospital is needed and the fact that it is carried out as a day case means that no recovery period is needed. At the other end of the scale, major surgery such as a duodenal switch will likely require a hospital stay of a week or more.

On average a general hospital stay will be around 4-5 days and during this time the assistance of a nurse will be essential in helping stomach surgery recovery. Nurses will be on hand to help you chance your bed position to prevent bed sores, the nurse will do this until you regain the strength to do so yourself. Over the days the nurse may also help you with exercises that promote healing.

Recovery at home

Stomach surgery recovery will continue when you are able to leave the hospital and return home. The first thing to do will be to arrange for someone to drive you home as you are not likely to be fit enough to do so. Having a bed in a comfortable room will be needed and the presence of a friend or family member can be beneficial over the first couple of days at home.