What to Expect After Surgery

The recovery from your gastric sleeve procedure involves a series of changes, both short-term and long-term, and a lifelong commitment to stick to the changes you have made.

Gastric Sleeve Recovery

Generally, you can expect to either go home the same day or stay one night in the hospital or surgical center after gastric sleeve surgery.1 For several days after the procedure, there will be some soreness in your abdomen, a feeling similar to doing a rigorous abdominal workout. In most cases, any discomfort you experience can be remedied with pain medication.

Learning a New Way to Eat

Incorporating an entirely new diet regimen is very important after gastric sleeve surgery, as is learning new healthy eating habits. The program for reintroducing solid food differs from one bariatric surgeon to another.

You can expect the gastric sleeve post-op diet to be liquid-only for the first two weeks following your procedure. During the next two weeks, you will be allowed soft, pureed foods. As long as everything is going well, you can expect to be able to re-introduce solid food in small portions 5 weeks after gastric sleeve surgery. It is extremely important that you follow the gastric sleeve post-op diet closely as it gives the staple lines on the newly formed sleeved stomach time to heal properly.

Adopting Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits

After gastric sleeve surgery, you cannot return to eating the way that you used to, even after you are given the approval to re-introduce solid foods. Your weight loss success depends on you changing the way that you eat permanently. It may take some getting used to over time. You will need to learn to eat very slowly, having only small servings at each meal. You will also need to be sure to chew thoroughly and swallow food sufficiently so that it is easy to swallow and digest. Drinking and eating at the same time is to be avoided. The fluids that you drink will flush the food through the sleeve quickly, allowing you to eat more.

Proper Nutrition and Exercise

After gastric sleeve surgery, you will need to avoid consistently eating foods that are lacking nutritional value. Consuming these types of food can lead to nutritional deficiencies. You will not be capable of eating as much food as you previously did, so your body will be absorbing fewer nutrients than to which it is accustomed. It is recommended that you have annual checkups to help monitor your health. You will need to take a daily multivitamin, calcium and possibly other supplements as well depending on results of your lab work. Our dietician can help guide you on the proper diet and nutritional needs needed to have lasting results after gastric sleeve surgery.

Immediately after receiving approval from your surgeon to resume physical activity, you should begin exercising regularly. One of the many important changes that you will need to make to your lifestyle is regular physical activity. This will help you achieve and maintain maximum weight loss results from your procedure and increase your energy levels. Regular physical activity will also help to increase your core muscle mass and decrease your body fat percentage. It is recommended that women try to maintain a body fat percentage between thirty and thirty-five percent and men should ideally be between twenty and twenty-five percent.

Ongoing Support & Clinical Care

Your bariatric team here at TLC will be there to support you throughout your recovery and to support you in making and adjusting to the necessary changes to your lifestyle.2 This support extends to both physical and emotional issues you may be experiencing during these new lifestyle changes. Our team includes a surgeon, a dietician, a nurse practitioner/physician assistant, a psychologist, and in some cases, an exercise physiologist. This team of professionals is important to your continued success and maintaining your weight loss without the development of any eating disorders. Support groups may be of value to you as well, but it is important that you maintain close contact with your team so they can identify any problems immediately and treat any issues that arise early.

To ensure that you experience a successful weight loss journey and a smooth recovery you will want to be sure to choose a qualified bariatric surgeon who is experienced with gastric sleeve surgery, such as the experienced weight loss surgeons here at TLC. You will also want to be careful to follow the gastric sleeve post-op instructions closely.

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Learn More About What You Can Expect After Surgery

1 Johns Hopkins Medicine. Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Available: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/gastric-sleeve-surgery. Accessed June 29,2022.
1 Mayo Clinic. Sleeve gastrectomy. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/sleeve-gastrectomy/about/pac-20385183. Accessed June 29, 2022.

The TLC Surgery Doctors have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.

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