Carolinas HealthCare System
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Ask a Surgeon: Taking Pain Relievers After Weight-loss Surgery

Weight-loss surgery can be a lifesaver for many people who are overweight or obese. However, like any other surgical procedures, patients need to follow doctor’s orders to have successful outcomes.

Roc Bauman, MD, board-certified bariatric surgeon with the Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery program at Carolinas HealthCare System, discusses an often-asked question about weight-loss surgery:

Q. What kind of pain relievers can you take after weight-loss surgery?

A. The type of pain reliever a patient can take after weight-loss surgery depends on the procedure. In general, patients who have undergone the sleeve gastrectomy are free to take many different kinds of pain relievers without concerns for developing ulcers – provided the dosages are not beyond the recommended amount.

This also assumes that it is beyond the critical period of tissue healing. It's important to ask your surgeon for their recommendations.

For patients who have undergone a gastric bypass, it is recommended to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) and steroids in high doses. NSAIDs include medications like ibuprofen. Aspirin should also be avoided. Generally, narcotics slow the bowel function but usually do not contribute to ulcers.

Adjustable gastric band patients are at no greater risk for any pain reliever.