Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Recovery Time

Deciding to have gastric sleeve surgery in order to lose weight is a big decision. You want to consider all of the options and facts including how long the recovery will take. Recover time for all types of surgery vary from person to person based on their overall health and their lifestyle. You will find that the timeline is not the same for any one person.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery, recovery time

It is important to realize that recovery from gastric sleeve surgery is a life-long process involving a variety of steps. The immediate expectations are a hospitalization of a few days and nights. The discomfort and pain from the surgery can linger for several days after the procedure and is much like muscle aches from working out after having not done so for a long time. In most cases pain medication, either over-the-counter or prescribed, can help to relieve the discomfort.

Before the Procedure

In order to help your recovery time, it’s important to prepare well before having your gastric sleeve procedure. Start making dietary changes now. The best way to prepare yourself is to gradually switch to a liquids only diet two weeks prior to your surgery.

If you’re a smoker, stop now. This is because it can increase your chance of surgery-related complications and can slow healing time. Some surgeons will refuse treatment to patients who have not quit smoking before surgery.

Recovery: Few Weeks After the Procedure

Expect some discomfort following your gastric sleeve surgery. During the first week after surgery, you will need to take pain medication. Tenderness and pain around the site of the incision may occur as well as general tenderness in the stomach as you will be getting full faster than ever before.

Understand the symptoms of dumping syndrome. This condition occurs when food empties too quickly into the small intestine, which can cause nausea, vomiting, faintness, the shakes and/or diarrhea.

Accept the fact that your activity level will be slow for a period of time. This is not just because you’re recovery, but because your body is adjusting to a new diet and will feel tired and sluggish at first. You will learn to become more accustomed to changes in the diet and the nutrients that your body absorbs as time goes on.

‘Your primary care physician can recommend how much activity you can have on a daily basis during the first few weeks into your gastric sleeve surgery recovery. Follow all of the guidelines put forth by our physician during the post-op period. This is a serious surgery that drastically changes your nutrition and impacts your digestive system. By following these instructions you can expect a better chance for optimal health and limited risk of complications following your gastric sleeve surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time

As with most surgeries and especially weight loss surgeries, the recovery time is subjective and will depend upon the individual, the particular surgery factors and the follow up following surgery. Most patients can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery and will be able to leave as soon as they can keep down liquids without throwing up. Patients should be prepared for moderate pain. This discomfort can be put at ease fairly well with the aid of pain medications which will most likely be taken for the first few weeks following gastric sleeve surgery.

One of the major components to a full recovery from gastric sleeve surgery is the way that patients are able to eat food. For the first week after gastric sleeve surgery you will likely be put on a liquid only diet. This is because the stomach has been stapled and these staples are the only thing that is holding the newly formed sleeve together. They must heal before they can be strong enough to withstand the pressure of food at all. After the liquids-only portion of the diet, patients will eat pureed or soft foods for another week and gradually move into small portion of well cut up food. It is important that patients learn how to chew their food fully and to drink plenty of water throughout the day (never with eating) to avoid dehydration and to aid digestion.

Learning how to eat properly and understanding proper nutrition is important to the Gastric Sleeve surgery to the recovery process. Patients will also want to work with their primary care physician in order to find a good fitness routine that will benefit their overall weight loss commitment. 

There are several steps to full recovery from gastric sleeve surgery and most of them will take a good deal of time to accomplish.

Eating Again after VSG

You might think that eating food is something you just know how to do and that your body will just do what it is supposed to. Once you have had a gastric sleeve surgery you will need to make sure that you learn how to eat properly. You will be facing several challenges the first of which is minimizing the amount of food that you put into your stomach. Initially you will be put on a liquid only diet for the first week of your surgery. After this point the physician will suggest that you move on to a soft food or pureed food diet. This will lead into being able to consume very small portions of regular food. The process is intended to allow the staples lines within the stomach to fully heal and seal. Since this staple line is what holds the sleeve together, it is vital that it gets a chance to become well healed before putting any pressure on it.

Related: Expected Weight Loss on Gastric Sleeve

Food Intake Changes

Being back on solid foods does not mean that you will be able to start eating as you once did. You can expect that you will need to learn to adjust the food intake according to the new capacity of the stomach. In addition, you will need to change the way that you eat the food. This means taking small bites and chewing thoroughly. It also means for some that it is important to avoid certain foods such as those that are very spicy because the stomach is smaller and it could cause heartburn. Drinking plenty of water is also advisable because it flushes the food through the sleeve faster.

Related: Gastric Sleeve Diet – Post-Op Dietary Guide

Good nutrition and a proper exercise plan that is approved by your physician is the best way to find recovery and balance after the gastric sleeve surgery. Taking a new approach to food, portion size and only consuming foods that are going to bring benefit to your body is also important since you are working with a smaller amount of space for the food in your body.