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 (5,457)

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How is everyone dealing with what others are saying about you having the surgery. I have had people acting like it's the easy way out for me.
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Anybody who has done this knows it is anything but the easy way! My answer to them is that is saying diabetics who take insulin are taking the easy way. I chose not to tell anyone. But people who make those comments are uninformed of the major health risks with morbid obesity. Try to just rise above the comments & know that you are doing this to better ur health.
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sgs1962, Me personally I have never let what others thought of me or the decisions I've made bother me. People will always have something to say no matter what. No one knows what we go through and how we feel on a daily basis. I only shared my decision with a very few people and it wasn't to gain their approval. I have a lot of health issues and I felt that this was the best way for me to get my health back and I felt it was the best decision for me. I did tell one family member who felt that I shouldn't do it because they felt that I didn't need it and that I looked perfectly fine to her. She felt that it was a bad thing to do. I asked her how much did she know about the procedure being that she works in the medical field and she couldn't tell me anything because she had never been around anyone who had undergone the procedure and she doesn't know any bariatric surgeons. She had nothing to support her reason. I told her just because I look fine doesn't mean I am. And even though I didn't have to I explained all my health issues to her and the reason why I chose to have it along with some good info about the sleeve it totally changed her perception about the sleeve and why most people choose to have it done. You are going to run into some people that just won't understand why you did it no matter how you explain it to them but don't let them and how they feel make you feel bad for the decision you made because at the end of the day you have to live and do what's best for you.
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sgs1962, that is because they are ignorant of what is involved in getting the sleeve procedure. If it is a stranger, I usually ignore them. If it is people who matter to me I ask them if they realize what the requirements are, both before and after the procedure. Usually they do not realize what all is involved. I ask them if they feel limiting their total intake of food at a meal to less than a cup for the rest of their life is easy, if they understand the sacrifices made by bariatric patients to have a chance at a healthy life again. I explain that nothing about this is easy. I explain that the surgery is a major tool to help us control the quantity of food we eat but we must still make healthy food choices and exercise to get to and maintain our goals.
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Thank you so much your comment has made me feel better about it. I have got so many saying you can do it on your own. I can't get up and walk like most people because I was paralyzed and have trouble walking now. So to get my health back I feel this is my best option. Thank you again
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Thank you that is the way I will put it when they say something else.
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Thank you so much. I know it will be hard but so worth it to get my life back
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Yea people will always try to downplay what ever you do in life. Before I had mine done my surgeon told me it would be a healthier decision than how I was living. My blood pressure was high I was on the verge of catching diabetes my cholesterol was high as we'll. I has ulcers you name it. For years I have been dieting and I had success for a little while but I just got tired of going through the same routine. I need something that is going to work for long term with my efforts of change as we'll. so who ever make their little slick comments are those who aren't and never will be for me because I'm out to better my life. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since I have gotten the procedure. Last week I got labs done and already better changes to my health have been made.
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Wingstofly I had someone say but isn't that cheating. I didn't get offended I just thought to myself She just Dont know what I have to go through
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That is great! I will be having my the 29th and having so many different comments. So I will just push their comments to the side now.
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Candicane, you are wise to do so. Keep ur focus on ur own health! None of us are doing this for vanity purposes but to be healthier version of ourselves.
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I have been drinking carnation instant breakfast with lactose free milk and soy protein formula and it digest good and leaves me feeling satisfied.
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Saralee679 did you have the sleeve surgery
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I haven't had a bowel movement yet. I really wasn't eating much before the procedure. The nurse told me to drink citrate magnesium so far that was an hour ago and nothing has happened. I drank in the past and within thirty minutes I was ready. Just need to know if anyone else has experienced this.
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Yes, very common. You may not go for a week or more. Other times you may get diarrhea for a bit. At least that has been my experience and my Dr said it is common until I get on a regular diet of solid food.
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Msshinna42,Yes I experience conspitation as well, my Dr told me to take miralax and a suppository , and I still didn't have any movement until I post my concerns on here and I was told to mix the miralax in Apple juice.. I heat my apple juice mix in the miralax and I have great every since..i thank god for the positive feedback you get on this site..
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Yes I had the sleeve surgery on the 9th. Today I feel back to normal except for that big appetite I used to have. I am ready to go back to work tomorrow. I have tried so many diet pills with lipo shots in the past and it helped for a little while but this is truly the best decision I have made. I'm really not starved ready to snap on somebody. I get a little hungry and take my fluids and vitamins and I'm fine. The other day I ordered mcdonalds for my children and ordered myself a sm smoothie and didn't even drink half of it and I was full. When I got constipated I used milk of magnesia and it worked with np.
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Thank you. I will try
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I had my surgery on the 16th of this month and the gas is leaving slowly. I have to warm my water to drink it or any drink because any other way I get gas. But overall I'm excited about my new life. Would love suggestions on soft solids, recipes, and such. Thanks
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I had my sleeve on the 9th and am finally gas free. So far I lost 12 pounds. I'm really exited to have this type of experience.
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Jai.82: I did drained (wtr) tuna & chix (wtr). I blended them in mini blender w/Miracle Whip storing them in 3 oz containers. I missed the bulletin of the broth mixture but it worked great for me. I bot a large pkg of plastic colored baby spoons @ WalMart. The less stress I had was best for me as I went back to one job in 11 days & second job in 14. I LOVE tuna also! LOL. Best of luck. PS, i'll be 3mo post on 9/25 & am able to eat everything so far wgo ANY issues. I've been VERY BLESSED! Hugs
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Can anyone tell me what is the best protein powder you would suggest?
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How much do you usually use the first month, 3 months and 6 months? With the sleeve.
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Oops usually lose.
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Hi you all have been great support but nervous . When you all say you can barely eat does it painful when you eat or make you feel like you will throw up scared what it is going to be like
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