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 (6,016)

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Day 21 post op!! From 290lbs to 258lbs!!! I start with soft protein foods today!! Super excited!! Does non-breaded lemon pepper wings count?? LOL
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Good evening everyone. I have to go in on tomorrow to get xrays done. The Dr does not like that I throw up after eating and the acid reflux I'm having. I'm praying everything is OK. I will let you all know how it goes. I'm five weeks post op tomorrow.
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BrandNewMe42..I had surgery 3 months ago. The first 6 weeks I threw up everything including crackers, broth, and WATER! I was miserable and regret the surgery. Today I am feeling better Thank God although I still have some nausea and I still take Finagrin when needed. I am 40lbs down and pushing harder. I am beginning to love the new me so no regrets!
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Good afternoon all, it's been 5 or so weeks since I had my sleeve done and hernia repaired. Last Friday I had a procedure done to dilate the esophagus and wow it is sooooo nice. My pain is gone and I can drink & eat. I have lost 46 lbs and I am now able to do everything. So glad.
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Great news Mother Mary. Glad to see you doing well.
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Hi, Mary Glad all is going well for you. I have a couple of questions which I'm hesitant about the surgery. By hernia, do you mean hiatal hernia? I have one. Why did your esophagus have to be dilated? Is it permanent.
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Hi all! Just wanted to encourage anyone struggling. I had my sleeve done June 10th this year, so that puts me about 4 months post op. I started at 221 prior to surgery and day of surgery I got down to 211.5lbs I am now 155lbs and doing well. I eat normally, just very small amounts! Hang in there everyone!! :)
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Praise God!!! I started my journey at 224 lbs. and day surgery 216 lbs. My surgery was 10/13/14 and one week after surgery I have lost 11 lbs. and a total of 19 lbs. Thank you for the encouragement. What ri you mean normally?
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tci44 that is awesome. I'm 3 weeks post opt and have lost 29 pounds. I stared at 217 and weighted in this morning at 188. so excited. Keep up the good work.
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Normally I mean basically what I want just healthy and small amounts:)
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Hi I'm Angie I start my Liquid Diet on November 1 my surgery is on November 21 I'm a bit nervous but I pray to God every day cause I no he has Control of my surgery and everything will come out ok .
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The Lord will see you through. He did for me. I'm 7 days post-op.
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I'm starting my pre op liquid diet on November 1 my surgery Date is 11 of November a little Nervous but I no Gods in Control and everythings going to be fine. Angie here
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I'm heading to the hospital now for my surgery. It is scheduled for 2:30. Nervous, and excited!
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How exciting!!! The first post op week will be the roughest… After that you'll love it!!
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Today I am 3 weeks post op lost 22 pounds since surgery and 14 pound on diet before total 36 pounds and I just got to eat my first pureed food. Grits and an egg ate about half cup but still not feeling full. Is that normal. I am so worried I will over do it. I had no problems eating. In fact can't wait till lunch. Seem to be obsessing over food too much is that normal.
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Jojo, after nothing but liquids and mush for several weeks, I don't think it's obsessing to think about REAL food. Don't worry, your sleeve will let you know if you overdo it. You will begin to have a pressure feeling and sometimes it will hurt like something is stuck at the opening into your stomach. The main thing is to chew well and eat slowly. I am still challenged with not chewing enough. I was a fast eater before and find it is a hard habit to break. You are doing great.
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Hi Jojo! Glad to hear you are doing so well. If you are still hungry, eat until you're full. It's perfectly normal. Listen to your tummy. She will tell you when she is full. Eat slow and chew, chew, chew.
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I'm with ya chatty it is a hard habit to break! but my tummy keeps reminding me in a painful way! LOL good luck every one!!
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Surgery tomorrow have to be at hospital at 5:30 AM, excited not really nervous just ready to get it over with so I can move on with things. It's been a long 6 months of weighing in and pre certifications but it's worth it. I prayed for Gods covering of protection of me, doctors, nursing staff and anyone And everyone that's apart of my procedure! I feel safe in my Gods arms. Will post again after surgery.
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just remember it gets easier every day!! best wishes!!!
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Congrats! Im Trudy and I get to meet w the surg team on this coming Friday...its been a long time coming!
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Slimedog, Thank you
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Thanks TrudyB
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Good luck with your surgery. Prayers coming your way..
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