Driving Restrictions After Bariatric Surgery

Driving is part of being mobile. Without your car, in most of the United States, you are simply stuck. This is certainly true in West Texas. Unfortunately, after bariatric surgery, you won’t be able to drive yourself for a while—though you are more than welcome to be a passenger!

How long after bariatric surgery can you drive? This depends on the type of surgery you have and whether it was laparoscopic or open field. Here is what you need to know about how soon you can drive after bariatric surgery.

Laparoscopic vs. Open Field

All bariatric procedures can be performed with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery or through open field surgery, which uses one large incision. The goal for most practices, including ours, is to go with laparoscopic approaches and the least number of incisions possible.

Open field surgery will extend your timeline for when you can drive again. On average, it will extend your wait by about 1-2 weeks. However, this might depend on if yours was planned to be open field or if your surgeon encountered complications while completing a laparoscopic procedure.

Medication Usage Makes a Difference

Another factor in when you can drive again is how long you are on prescription painkillers. Many people only take these for a few days after their procedure, but others need them for weeks in order to manage their discomfort. However, so long as you are on these medications, you cannot drive. They slow the reflexes, can change your perception of your surroundings, and increase the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

Typical Timelines for Different Bariatric Surgeries

Below are standard timelines for driving again after bariatric surgery based on the type of procedure performed, assuming the surgeries were laparoscopic.

If you feel nervous about driving again after your procedure, don’t be afraid to extend the timeline. After any abdominal surgery, the idea of spending a lot of time in the car and wearing a seatbelt can be daunting. Take things slow, and if you have questions, reach out to us about recovery after weight loss surgery in West Texas.

For more on life after your procedure, read: Overeating and Binge Eating After Bariatric Surgery.