Top 10 Tips For Before and After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

  • 2 years ago

Last updated on 8/24/2014
Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

Sleeve gastrectomy
is a permanent weight loss surgery option that shrinks a patient’s stomach and helps them lose weight. In order to be fully prepared and get optimal results, it's important to do the proper research on what to do before and after the procedure.

The following list will provide some tips on what to do pre- and post- gastric sleeve surgery.


Before Surgery:


Liquid Only Diet1. Change your diet. Because a gastric sleeve is such a serious procedure, it is a good idea to prepare the body for living this way. Two weeks before surgery you need to start an all-liquid diet, in order to shrink your liver and make surgery safer.

2. Change your grocery list. Making sure you can make protein-rich liquid meals for before and after your surgery; it can take a long time before you are able to eat solids. You'll need a lot of clear soups and broths, skim milk, sugar-free clear jello, and Popsicles.

3. Stop smoking. Quit smoking up to a month before your surgery; it will ensure your post operative recovery is sped up and your risk of surgery-related complications will be reduced. If you do not quit smoking your doctor may refuse to perform the surgery altogether.

4. Ensure your wardrobe is suitable. This type of surgery will leave your body very tender. Loose clothing is a must and slip-on shoes can really help too. It's also a good idea to ensure you have some "transition" clothing, which will fit you at various stages as you lose weight. You will lose weight rapidly in the beginning so it's cost-effective to use old clothes that don't fit right now or to buy some from a charity shop.

Friend Support5. Prepare your hospital bag. Gastric sleeve surgery requires an overnight hospital stay, so pack anything you thin you may need to be comfortable.

6. Prepare your support group. It's important to educate your friends and family and make sure you have people around to help out during your healing process. You will need both mental and physical support throughout this journey. Your doctor may also encourage you to join a support group, either in person or online, such as RealSelf.

7. Arrange transportation and bring a pillow. Make sure you have transportation arranged for going home. You shouldn't be driving that soon after your operation and it will be painful. Take a pillow for the ride home and place it over your abdomen. Holding it somewhat tightly will help stop the pain from going over uneven surfaces and bumps in the road.

8. Get prepared. Get prescriptions early if possible, make sure the house is cleaned, laundry is done, meals are cooked and frozen ahead of time, and things like over-the-counter medication and stool softeners have been purchased.

Know the Facts: Talk to Your Doctor9. Know the facts. Make sure you find out from your surgeon what a gastric sleeve surgery entails so you know exactly what is about to happen. Talking in detail with your doctor can reduce fear and anxiety associated with the procedure.

10. Protein, protein, protein
. You'll need protein after surgery, so get used to it pre-op. Take the period before surgery to find out which protein powders you do and do not like. Find out which protein-rich foods you'll be able to incorporate into your diet without adding too many extra calories and stock up your pantry!


After Surgery:


1. Follow the diet stages set out by your doctor. If  you try to eat solid foods too soon or begin to eat foods high in sugars and fats, you could risk harming yourself or damaging your stomach. You will certainly experience some uncomfortable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.

Wait to Go Back to Work2. Do not go back to work until you are ready
. The recovery time will vary, but it generally takes two weeks after after gastric sleeve surgery before a person is healed enough to work. You should also take on light duties only when you first return to work. Walking around is good exercise, but no heavy lifting.

3. Never miss your check-ups
. Make sure you see your physician long into your recovery period to ensure you are healing correctly. It will also keep you on the right path with diet, exercise, and your weight loss goals.

4. Exercise when you can
. It may take some time before you can exercise fully, but it is important to strengthen your muscles and get back to walking as soon as possible. This will help your body strengthen and begin to cope with having less of a daily caloric intake while still remaining functional.

Read New Cookbooks5. Continue to educate yourself
. Find new recipes you can make so that food doesn’t become boring after your surgery. Your tastes will change, so try new things or even things you once disliked; you may love them now. Your body will be a great educator, you just need to learn to listen to it.

6. Know when to ask for help
. During the initial recovery phase it can be difficult to move and get things done. Make sure you get plenty of rest and have a good support network during these times.

7. Follow your prescription
. Do not try and wean yourself off of medication early. Be sure to follow your prescription and let your doctor know if you're feeling any discomfort. If you have diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it may be that this surgery cures you. However, let your doctor make that decision.

8. Take multivitamins regularly
. Before you get into a routine, it can be tough to get all of the nutrition you need from food alone. Take multivitamins to ensure you are getting the right nutrients. Your doctor will be able to specify which particular vitamins you need. This should be a lifelong habit that you form, so start early.

Food Journal9. Track your calories
. Keeping your total calories at about 600-800 per day will ensure your weight loss is a success. Make sure you aren’t ingesting foods which are high in calories, sugar, or fat. Always make sure you speak to your doctor about how many calories you need each day. They'll know you and your body and will give you a specific target catered to your particular needs.

10. Don't drink your calories
. Only drink low-calorie drinks such as water, sugar-free juices, and unsweetened ice tea. Don't drink any form of soda (even diet) — which can stretch your new pouch because of the gasses — and never drink alcohol after surgery.

These tips will help anyone who is preparing for, or recovering from, gastric sleeve surgery. They are not meant to supersede any advice your doctor gives you, but will push you in the right direction when starting the journey to a healthier you.



Photo credits: Courtesy of Womack Army Medical Center; Some rights reserved by Prentice Wongvibulsin; Some rights reserved by Matheau Dakoske; Some rights reserved by Proimos; Courtesy of Pixabay; Photo by Paul Saraceno; Courtesy of Nutritionist Now


Comments (6,136)

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I need some input on ways to get through this Phase 2 stage. I am so needing something more then liquids. I have at least 20 opened bottles of protein drinks, yogurt, baby food, etc. It seems no matter what I try it just doesn't satisfy me. I can't get my protein in no matter how hard I try. I literally drink all day. I try to drink the protein drinks, but after 2 or 3 sips I am done with it. Help!!!!
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Hey lady's I had my surgery done in Mexico with Dr Mario Almanzo .... Omg he does 8 to 10 surgeries in day . I highly recommend his name
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Huge congratulations Zen Lady and everyone else who has joined the 'gs club' in the past week. It does get easier (although i've got severe pains back after nearly 4 weeks). Remember "Short term pain for long term gain" and "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"..... for those that are onto eggs... try mixing half a cup of cottage cheese, one egg and a scoop of protein powder (vanilla or unflavoured)... nearly 40g of protein just for breakfast!!!!
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Aussie, sorry to read you have developed such severe pain now, that can't be normal? Yet, you do still remain positive. Do you mean a boiled egg in with that cottage cheese and protein powder?
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Hi zen lady - no raw - then cook scrambled like you would normally cook scrambled eggs! You can also add a little more protein powder to get the consistency of pancake mixture and make pancakes!
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Thank you for your advice , and tip for the eggs and how to get more protein in - congratulations ! I'm sorry to hear you experienced such severe pain and hope you are feeling better
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Unjury sells a cheese protein powder you can put in eggs is pretty good
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For already-done-sleepers.... I'm 3wks and 3 days post sleeve and was on panadol for the first week and mostly pain free by week 2 so stopped taking it. In the last 48hrs i've been having severe pains in the area of the largest incision. And i mean severe, hurts to walk sever. It isn't the pulling-twisting pain i felt in the first week it's a sharp, stabbing pain. I'm not sure if something is wrong or if it's normal.... has anyone else experienced pain free then all of a sudden severe pains again? Thanks in advance xxx
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Wow Aussieinkuwait You need to call your doctor. That don't sound right. keep us informed. I noticed you said you were 3wks 3 day post op. Are you on soft foods yet?
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thanks and surgery was on 16thof oct last Thursday one week ago ... My stiches r itche where u go to remove the stiches ..
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Hey everyone,

It's been a while since I last shared the different guides we have, that have been helpful to a lot of you. Since we have a lot of new sleevers in here, I wanted to give you the links again and hopefully they'll be useful for the next set of our group who are heading into this WLS journey.

Good luck everyone and keep up the awesome job you're all doing of supporting each other. This group has been a huge support for me through my own sleeve journey and I know you're invaluable to each other.

The guides are below, please let me know if you have any questions.

Kirsty

Sleeve Gastrectomy Guide
Food Survival Guide
Nutrition Guide
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Good morning fellow sleevers! Yes, I've officially joined the club as of 20 hours ago. Surgery started at 8:00 am and the next I remember is being back in my room and I slept most of the next 16 hours, other toilet trips and the usual checks by Nurses. Discomfort start when I came to totally, as in a little reflux and feeling of pressure in my chest, otherwise I sat up watching movies until now. I am on intravenous pane doll apparently. I got up and did the hospital ward lap without a problem, needless to say I am very pleased. I've cleaned my teeth twice too which keeps my mouth feeling fresher and washed. My face several times. All good so far. Today I get to sip water very slowly apparently. I'm certainly not hungry at all and the intravenous fluids keep thirst at bay too. I've read days 2-3 can be difficult, but that's not in my plan either!
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You sailed through like a trouper! My first day I could not even get out of bed! Way to go!
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Wingsoftly, really? Gosh no pain here but that may be the drip with panedol. I won't get over confident tho, it can change quickly and when I have to sip water.
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ZEN LADY, DONT BE SUPRISED WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOU GAINED 9 POUNDS AFTER YOU GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. IT'S ALL WATER AND GOES AWAY IN A FEW DAYS. I HAD MY SLEEVE 9/26/14 MY HUSBAND WENT WITH ME TO MEXICO. HE WAS HUNGRY AND WENT TO JACK IN THE BOX OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND ATE, HE CAN BACK AND BURPED, I THROUGH UP ALL OVER HIM BEACUSE OF THE SMELL OF FOOD. (LOL) IM STILL ON LIQUIDS UNTIL TOMORROW. I'M PRETTY EXCITED FOR MY SOLIDS. GOOD LUCK, AND REMEMBER THE FIRST 3 DAYS ARE THE WORST. (AT LEAST FOR ME THEY WERE) AFTER THAT ITS ALL PRETTY GOOD.
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ZEN LADY, DONT BE SUPRISED WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOU GAINED 9 POUNDS AFTER YOU GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. IT'S ALL WATER AND GOES AWAY IN A FEW DAYS. I HAD MY SLEEVE 9/26/14 MY HUSBAND WENT WITH ME TO MEXICO. HE WAS HUNGRY AND WENT TO JACK IN THE BOX OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND ATE, HE CAN BACK AND BURPED, I THROUGH UP ALL OVER HIM BEACUSE OF THE SMELL OF FOOD. (LOL) IM STILL ON LIQUIDS UNTIL TOMORROW. I'M PRETTY EXCITED FOR MY SOLIDS. GOOD LUCK, AND REMEMBER THE FIRST 3 DAYS ARE THE WORST. (AT LEAST FOR ME THEY WERE) AFTER THAT ITS ALL PRETTY GOOD.
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Yes finally Zenlady!! how do you feel..any gas or air in back or chest?
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Hi shellyrockwell ... When u had your surgery done and how long it take to heal the stiches out they itcy ? And where u go to your stiches
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shellyrockwell, thanks for the weight gain warning, if the next 2 days are as good as the first I'll be just fine!
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candicane25, feel good, a little gas pressure in my chest, but not enough to be more than aware of it - I'll go for another walk soon to keep it moving up!
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Great start ZenLady! Keep up the positive attitude, and remember to sip, sip, sip so you will not get dehydrated when you are off the IV.
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Congratulations!!!!!!
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Okay will sip sip sip then sip some more slow and steady wins the slim race
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Zen Lady, unlike alot of people I have never experienced any problems other than gas, hope you are the same. Good luck, and stay positive.
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Thanks Shellyrockwell, yes I prefer your way! :)
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