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5 Things to Expect after Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Not sure what to expect after gastric sleeve surgery?  This procedure, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, reduces the size of your stomach in order to limit how much food it will hold. The goal is to help support your weight loss efforts by encouraging you to prioritize healthy foods over empty calories.

After surgery, most patients will experience the following changes. Some of them are temporary, while others are the start of a long-term shift in lifestyle.

1. Soreness.

While laparoscopic surgery involves minimal cutting, it does still leave a few incisions, and you’ll probably experience some soreness for a week or so. Pain medications may be needed for the short term, but this will be fairly temporary.

2. Temporary Restrictions.

Your diet will be restricted for a few weeks after surgery.  First you will consume only liquids and then soft foods.  Gradually, regular foods will be reintroduced.  

After you get home from the hospital (usually one or two days), it’s best if you avoid driving or operating machinery for 24 hours after being on narcotic pain medication. In addition, avoid the following for about 3 weeks:

  • Soaking in a tub (showering is fine).
  • Swimming.
  • Sexual activity.
  • Performing strenuous tasks.

Most people take a couple weeks off work to give themselves time to rest up and recover. Getting plenty of rest will help you recover faster.

3. Smaller Appetite.

Another major change is you will fill up much faster when eating. After you resume eating solid foods, you’ll need to prioritize protein and nutrients first. Protein rich foods such as fish or nuts can make each meal feel more satisfying, even though you won’t be able to eat as much.

4. Increased Flatulence.

It doesn’t happen to everyone, but many weight loss surgery patients notice they have more intestinal gas as their bodies adjust to the changes. One way to cut down on gas after surgery is to avoid carbonated beverages and straws since both of these introduce additional air into your system. Getting up and moving around can also help as well. Many patients find warm broth or tea to be soothing.

5. It may all be a bit daunting.

One final thing you might experience after gastric sleeve surgery is a bit of trepidation. It can be daunting to think about the lifestyle changes you’ll need to make, especially after investing so much in your health by undergoing surgery.

Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of support available. Your friends and family can offer moral support and accountability when it comes to making needed lifestyle changes, as can your bariatric surgeon and their staff.

For instance, at Malladi Bariatrics and Advanced Surgery, we offer many lines of support, including dietitians and support groups. For more information about the support we offer our patients, contact Dr. Malladi today.


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