Top 10 Tips For Before and After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

  • 2 years ago

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 (3,740)

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I have been searching for a support group for the gastric sleeve. I had my surgery on July 8th and really looking for support and also looking to support. Sharing stories and food. Looking forward to meeting everyone.
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Emirate, I hope it's going well for you these couple of weeks, I'd love to hear about it as I move closer to making my own arrangements.
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Hello emorette I too had my surgery on July 8. Yesterday was our2 week anniversary! I will start trying puree foods this week, but rather nervous yet tired of shakes! When will you start with foods?
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Great I hadn't surgery on July 11th, how is it going for you? I still have some discomfort on my left side. Which makes it difficult for me to eat. I don't wanna do anything when I'm in pain. Still amazed at how little I eat, what type of things are you puréeing!
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I mean I had my surgery on July 11th.
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Welcome Emorette! Be sure to check out a blog called The World According to Eggface. Some great recipes for every stage after surgery. There are also some good recipes to get in your protein on the Unjury Protein site.
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I just joined RealSelf this week and I am excited to see so many people that support each other getting the sleeve. My best friend and I are getting it done together and we both have 150+ pounds to loose. We are having the surgery on the same day on August 20th...... anyone else having it around that date?
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Hello FabForty Im glad you made your way here lol....I just joined myself and everyone here is very supportive. I am having my surgery tomorrow. Its good that you can have the surgery with your BF..thats a really good support system in place for the both of you.
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Fabforty - I haven't got a date but seeing my surgeon to set it on July 28th, exciting dreams! Nice to have friends to support each other; this website's my support and it's been great.
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Wow!!! Today is the day Sowell1008!! Good luck... thinking of you! Can't wait to hear from you after the surgery!
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We might be around the same time Calmlass! Good luck with your appointment on the 28th... hope everything is done sooner rather than later. I know I am really anxious and wish that it was tomorrow!
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Good morning everyone, just wanted to say you are all awesome, and are going to do GREAT. Keep your head up. :-)
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Ty Lampwall you are quite wonderful your self lol
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I agree, this website is one of the most positive experiences I've had for ages!
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I am meeting with my surgeon 7 /29 and handing in my paper work....getting excited...
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Chrissy610 - I'm meeting mine on 7/28 - getting hopeful...
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Good luck Chrissy610 & Calmlass, I would be excited to, I'm about a month away from meeting my surgeon.
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Lampwall, sounds like you and I are on the same time frame for surgery? I've met my surgeon, but my final pre-op appt with him is on the 22nd of August and I begin my pre-op liquid diet on 8/25 with a surgery date for the 8th of September. I am working on keeping off the weight I lost during my weight management phase (insurance requirement). I have stalled out and float between 208 and 212 lbs. Had a back injury and that has set me back with my exercise, so I guess that is the problem as I am eating pretty much the same things and not exceeding 1200 calories per day. I started out at 243 in late Feb. on my first appt to get my referral from my primary care Dr. to see the WLS doctor. My high weight was 263 back in December, just after the holidays. I went on a diet of 2 protein shakes per day and a lean cuisine for supper with fresh vegetables for snacks and lost 20 lbs between then and the referral appointment. Lost another 30 lbs on the weight management program through my surgeon's office from late Feb through late May and have been working to maintain that loss since late June. My surgeon's office said not to lose any more but not to gain either until surgery. If I lose anymore, I won't qualify for the surgery and if I don't maintain, the insurance could revoke coverage for not staying on program, plus that weight loss will help make the surgery easier on me and for the doctor. I have 78 lbs more to lose to get to the goal weight my Dr has recommended. I think I will be happy at 150 lbs, but he says I should be at 130 to 135 lbs. I haven't weighed that since my late twenties before the birth of my first child. I am 5' 5 and 3/4 inches and 62 yrs old and that seems really thin for someone my age for that height, but we'll see how it goes. I can already see extra wrinkles in my face from the 50 lbs I've lost thus far and I know it's going to get worse. I also have a fat apron that overhangs my pelvic area now that was higher up before the 50 lb loss. This is not looking pretty but I have to admit I feel SO MUCH BETTER already and can't wait to see how I'll feel by the holidays. My goal is to lose half between now and then and and the other half by the end of next August. Also praying I will go off meds for high BP, cholesterol, etc. after surgery. My primary Dr says I may not get completely off of them because I have been on them so many years and weight is just one factor in high blood pressure, but I'm praying and believing for NO meds except my thyroid and vitamins for the rest of my life. That will save about $150/mth at today's prices. Let me know when you start the pre-0p diet (if your Dr. requires it). Maybe we'll be on it at the same time and can encourage one another! READY TO DO THIS!!!
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Whoohoo ChattyCathy, haven't you done well in the healthy eating coming up to surgery, it must be hard not to do too well but well enough to meet the insurance requirements. I'm getting so excited about being able to set a date next Monday, even if it's a bit later than I want, I'll be on track for Christmas and looking forward to a healthy and happy 2015 for us all!
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Amen to that. I'll be praying you get a date soon and that all goes well with the pre-op appt on the 28th.
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Good luck sowell1008 thinking of you you will be awesome
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thanks Helen...I am doing my pre-op liquid diet today. Trying to get the kids and the house situated along with my husband. I think I am just trying to stay busy to keep from being nervous. lol I will post as soon as I am able after surgery. Thank All of you for being so supportive!
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Good luck I stayed my two week preop diet today. I'm already hungry lol
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Hi Everyone! Yesterday, I started my two-week pre-op diet. It's hard. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the protein powder drinks/shake. I was afraid I wouldnt like anything. I bought several kinds. I started with Designer Whey--Chocolate. It's a little on the sweet side, but really tastes like chocolate milk. YUM!
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You're on your way, congrats.
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