How long do I have to stay in the hospital after weight loss surgery?

New studies show some patients can go home the day after a weight-loss procedure

How long will you have to stay in the hospital after weight loss surgery? The average is two to five days, but a Louisville physician is getting most patients home the day after bariatric surgery.

There are several types of weight loss surgery. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) restricts a patient’s stomach capacity and limits the amount they can eat at one time. Other methods include the gastric bypass (also known as Roux-en-Y) and adjustable gastric banding (simply called “the band”). Recovery times, results and potential complications vary among bariatric surgeries.

A recent study, however, found next-day discharge after LSG to be safe for some patients.

Meredith C. Sweeney, M.D., is a general, bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon with Norton Surgical Specialists; she sees bariatric surgery patients at Norton Weight Management Services.

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“Many bariatric surgery centers have been doing this successfully. I have seen wonderful outcomes since beginning my protocol that allows patients to go home safely the day after the surgery,” Dr. Sweeney said. “Most people don’t want to stay in the hospital any longer than they have to.”

The benefits of next-day discharge after surgery

In general, next-day discharge has many patient benefits, including:

  1. Lower cost for the patient: According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,  hospital stays cost an average of $11,700. Reducing the length of stay means reducing costs.
  2. Patient comfort: People sleep better, are more relaxed and can move around more easily in familiar surroundings if they are at home sooner after a procedure.
  3. Faster recovery time: Patients get back to normal activities and daily living routines faster, which is associated with fewer complications.

Candidates for same-day release after bariatric surgery

“About 95% of my patients meet the criteria to go home safely the next day after surgery,” Dr. Sweeney said.

Although many physicians across the country are releasing patients the day after bariatric surgery, only a few in Louisville send patients home the day after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery — with Dr. Sweeney being one of those who have successfully adopted this practice.

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