Learn about NSAIDs after Bariatric Surgery By Edmund B. Chen on April 24, 2024

NSAIDs after bariatric surgeryDespite their great benefits, NSAID medication do have some side effects.  The main concern with NSAIDs is that they can irritate or damage the protective lining of the stomach.  Continued irritation to the stomach can lead to stomach ulcers or bleeding.  In bariatric surgery, the stomach is operated on and altered, and therefore we need to make some considerations about the use of NSAIDs after surgery.

In the first couple of weeks after bariatric surgery, the stomach is going through a lot of healing.  During this healing process, the stomach is more vulnerable to bleeding.  Therefore, for the first 4 weeks after any type of bariatric surgery (sleeve, SADI-S, BPD/DS, RYGB), patients are advised to not take any NSAID medications to allow the stomach to fully heal. If you absolutely need to take NSAIDs after surgery before these 4 weeks, please let your provider know.

But what about after these 4 weeks?  This is where the type of surgery you have plays an important role in deciding whether you can take NSAIDs.  In our practice, after the first 4 weeks, if you had a sleeve, a SADI-S, or a Duodenal Switch, you can start taking NSAIDs again!  The stomach will be mostly healed at this point and can tolerate NSAID medications. I do advise patients that if they need to take NSAIDs, to use them in moderation and only if non-NSAID medications, like Tylenol, do not work.  However, NSAID medications are allowed if you have a sleeve, a SADI-S, or a Duodenal Switch!  This is great news because these medications are great for many types of pain. The ability to take NSAIDs after surgery is one of the many benefits of a sleeve, SADI-S, or Duodenal switch operation.

However, if you have a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), NSAIDs are NOT allowed.  This is because, with the new anatomy of a gastric bypass, patients have a small stomach connected to a limb of the small intestine.  Due to the way this new connection is formed, this connection is always more suspectable to developing ulcers.  In a gastric bypass, these ulcers are specifically called marginal ulcers.  Due to the risk of marginal ulcers in a gastric bypass, NSAID medications are NOT allowed at any time after surgery.  Taking NSAID medications with a gastric bypass anatomy puts the patient at high risk of developing an ulcer.  To replace NSAIDs, gastric bypass patients should utilize Tylenol or other non-NSAID pain medications.  Gastric bypass patients should personally know that they cannot take NSAID products because other healthcare providers may not know this rule and other providers may try to prescribe NSAID medications for joint pains or other ailments.  NSAIDs are NOT allowed after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

NSAID medications like Advil, Motrin, and Aleve, are great medications that help many of our patients with pain control.  With a sleeve gastrectomy, a SADI-S, or a Duodenal Switch, these medications are allowed after the initial healing period!   



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Our highly skilled and experienced board-certified surgeons specialize in ultra-minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery. They are affiliated with a number of national associations, including the:

  • American Board of Surgery
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