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Weight Loss Team

Gastric Sleeve Recovery Timeline

By Juan Hidalgo on October 28, 2018

Squeezing unwanted belly fatDr. Juan Francisco Hidalgo has helped countless patients achieve their health goals thanks to bariatric surgery. His Puerto Vallarta, Mexico center offers state-of-the-art surgical treatment, including gastric sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy), which reduces stomach size to promote weight loss.

Healing after bariatric surgery takes time. We at the Weight Loss Team would like to provide a broad gastric sleeve recovery timeline so you know what to expect in the crucial first month after surgery and what happens after that.

What to Expect After the Surgery Is Over

In the immediate aftermath of the gastric sleeve surgery, patients will be groggy and tired because of the effects of anesthetic. This should wear off over the course of a few hours, when soreness and discomfort set in. This is a normal side effect, and it can be managed with pain medication.

First Week After Gastric Sleeve

In your first week after gastric sleeve surgery, your diet will need to be entirely liquids. This will help your digestive tract heal after surgery, and not place strain on your stomach so soon after the surgical procedure.

Approved liquids for your first week after surgery include:

  • Water
  • Broth
  • Skim milk
  • Sugar-free juice
  • Sugar-free popsicles
  • Sugar-free gelatin
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Decaffeinated tea

Though your focus will be on resting, be sure to walk around a bit each day to help promote circulation. This will help keep you a little active and prevent blood clots from forming in your legs as you recover.

Second Week After Gastric Sleeve

In your second week after gastric sleeve surgery, your pain will have improved considerably. Patients should continue to take it easy and focus on rest. Strenuous physical activity will remain limited, but patients can increase the duration of walking around the home, again promoting circulation and allowing for some physical activity.

You diet will expand a bit to incorporate protein. In addition to clear liquids, patients can also have:

  • Protein shakes
  • Sugar-free pudding
  • Sugar-free non-fat yogurt
  • Soup with very soft noodles
  • Ice cream

Third Week After Gastric Sleeve

Patients will usually be able to return to work so long as their occupation does not involve strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting. Pain should be extremely manageable by this time, and patients should be able to engage in light exercise without serious issues. Be sure to check with your bariatric surgeon for a list of approved activities at this time.

Your diet will expand even further to reincorporate soft solids. In addition to the above, you can also eat the following:

  • Eggs
  • Applesauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Well-cooked hot cereals made with lots of liquid

Fourth Week After Gastric Sleeve

By the fourth week after gastric sleeve surgery, you should notice that most post-op side effects are very minor and no longer an issue. Your physical activity levels will return mostly to normal, with select activities still off limits until you heal further.

By this time, you can start to incorporate solid foods in your diet. It’s recommended that you start with the following:

  • Well-cooked ground meats
  • Flaky fish
  • Well-cooked vegetables without skin
  • Soft fruits without seeds

As your recovery continues, you’ll be able to add more solid foods into your diet. Be sure to chew thoroughly and really savor your food with each meal. Take time to get accustomed to the way certain foods affect your body and your mood.

The Next Five Months

Over the course of the first six months after your gastric sleeve surgery, you should notice substantial weight loss. You’ll get used to your new dietary habits, and the need to hydrate between meals.

The Next Year and Beyond

By the end of the first year, you’ll typically have lost most of the weight you’ll lose thanks to surgery. Some patients may notice some weight return, which is normal. With regular exercise, patients can maintain a healthy body weight and keep excess weight off.

By the end of two years, patients can consider body contouring and skin tightening surgery to address changes to the body associated with excessive weight loss. This often involves a tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift, and total body lift.

Learn More About Gastric Sleeve Surgery

For more information about gastric sleeve surgery and your many other options for surgical weight loss, be sure to contact an experienced bariatric weight loss surgery specialist. We look forward to meeting you in person. The Weight Loss Team can be reached by phone at (818) 319-4428.

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