Gastric Sleeve Surgery Recovery and Diet

Clinic 360

About Gastric Sleeve Surgery Recovery and Diet

The gastric sleeve surgery is a stepping stone to helping you achieve a healthier, and happier you. There are short-term and long-term changes that you will need to implement in order to make sure surgery has had a positive impact on your life. The reason we have dedicated a whole page to the recovery of gastric sleeve is that we want you to be as prepared as possible.

In a nutshell, patients can expect the following:

  • Surgery Length: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • 1 Overnight Stay at Clinic 360
  • 10-14 Days OFF From Work
  • Light Walking: 1 – 4 Weeks
  • Light Aerobic Activities: 4 Weeks – 6 Months
  • Soft, Pureed Food: 4 – 8 Weeks
  • Full Recovery: 6 Weeks
  • Expected Weight Loss: 12 – 18 Months

Time Line of Gastric Sleeve Recovery

1st DAY:
Overnight stay at Clinic 360 for monitoring

Pain: moderate, with IV administration of pain medication

Diet: strictly ice chips every couple of hours

Activity: short walks every couple of hours

2nd DAY:
Released from clinic to go home

Pain: a bit more intense, oral prescribed medication to ease pain

Diet: clear fluids only

Activity: short walks

3rd – 7th DAY:
Pain: intense- since you are more active, oral prescribed medication to ease pain

Diet: full liquids

Activity: longer and more frequent walks, can climb stairs with breaks

1 – 2 Weeks:
Pain: quite tolerable, can take OTC pain medication if needed

Diet: pureed foods

Activity: longer and more frequent walks

3 Weeks – 3 Months:
Pain: very minimal, no medication needed

Diet: selected soft & solid foods

Activity: low impact aerobic exercise

3 – 6 Months:
Pain: almost non-existent

Diet: solid foods

Activity: more rigorous exercise, weights after 6 months

Gastric Sleeve Diet

One of the most drastic changes, patients find after surgery is the amount and type of food they are restricted to eating. The progressive changes in diet are to get accustomed to the new size of your stomach, and later on to keep your calories balanced.

2 Weeks Before Surgery

Leading up to surgery you will first meet with a nutritionist who will guide you through your eating journey. Your new diet actually starts two weeks before your surgery date. Believe it or not the main reason you are put on a diet so far in advance is to shrink the size of your liver. Being overweight, will also mean your liver is too. Over the years you have acquired fatty liver disease in which fat cells accumulate around and inside your liver. A large liver during the gastric sleeve surgery would increase your risk to complications. By following a diet that is recommended by your nutritionist will cause your liver to shrink in size, and allow for a safer surgery.

First Couple Days After Surgery

For the first day after surgery you will only be allowed to eat ice chips or even very small sips of water. For the next couple days you will be on a clear liquid diet, such as apple juice, broth, popsicles and Gatorade. You must record what and when you drink. Remember to take small sips, no gulps, and keep sipping throughout the day to stay hydrated- your body is used to getting a lot of fluids from food which it will no longer be getting.

First Week After Surgery

After a couple days post gastric sleeve diet, you will be able to introduce liquids such as vegetable juice and milk. This diet consists of low fat blended and full liquids. The portions are very small to help prevent vomiting. These small high protein meals will help your new stomach heal. You are to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks.

Weeks 2 – 3 After Surgery

This diet is blended foods with one new solid food added daily. The portions are very small to help prevent vomiting. You will need to avoid spicy foods, raw fruits, raw vegetables, rice, and crackers. The moister the food is, the better it will blend. An example would be, yogurt pureed with frozen strawberries, or low-fat cream of chicken soup blended with canned, drained chicken breast. You still need to drink plenty of water in between the 6 mini meals per day.

It’s very important to stick to the diet that your dietitian prescribes – this can be tough but absolutely necessary. Eating solids such as nuts or fibrous vegetables could cause your staple line to rupture and you could leak. A leak is life-threatening. The good news is that you’ve already lost weight. And this should encourage you to stick to your new diet.

Weeks 4 – 6 After Surgery

After a few weeks of soft, pureed foods it’s time for a change. With your nutritionist’s approval, you can typically add soft, solid foods to your diet. These would typically include: soft fruits, finely diced meats, cooked vegetables, cooked pasta.

Weeks 7 – 8 and Onwards

After about 2 months, your surgeon will probably approve you to eat solid foods. While this is very exciting- start slowly. You may find that spicy and/or crunchy foods can be difficult to tolerate. Eat one new food at a time and give yourself time to digest. You’ll be surprised at how full you will feel. This is a great opportunity to start new eating habits. Enjoy every bite of your food.


Protein is necessary for proper healing of your incision and your new stomach. It is also important for keeping muscle mass during weight loss. Not enough protein in your diet results in poor healing, hair loss, and an overall decrease in energy. Because you will be eating smaller amounts with your new stomach, it is important to choose foods that are high in protein. Meat and dairy foods are high in protein. Try to include at least one serving from one of these groups at each meal and snack.

For full diet plans, you will need to seek the advice of your nutritionist and surgeon, as this is only a guideline.

Weight Loss After Gastric Sleeve

It is hard to predict a timeline of how much and how fast you will lose weight after gastric sleeve. There are many factors such as your age, your gender, your BMI, how much you exercise, how much weight you lost on your pre-op diet, and how many calories you consume a day- all of these aid in your weight loss progression.

Since a large portion of your stomach is removed, you will see dramatic weight loss right after surgery. This however will plateau in a few months, and you will need to take an active step in changing your lifestyle habits to ensure that gastric sleeve surgery will be a success in keeping you healthy and happy.

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Post Bariatric Body Contouring Surgeries

After 18 months once you have reached your targeted weight loss goal, you will appear slim, however you will most likely have loose skin in many places. Body contouring surgeries at Clinic 360 are an option for patients who want to remove excess skin and tissue that can be uncomfortable and bothersome. Associated surgeries after gastric sleeve are:

  • Abdominoplasty
    Also referred to as a tummy tuck this is when loose skin and fat are removed, while tightening the underlying abdominal muscles. A scar will remain along the bikini line, however a flatter more contoured midsection is the result.
  • Brachioplasty
    Also referred to as an arm lift, excess skin and tissue along the underside of the arm is removed. A scar will remain from the elbow upwards to armpit. The result is slimmer upper arms.
  • Thigh Lift
    Referred also as thighplasty, loose tissues, including the skin is excised to provide patients with slender thighs.
  • Breast Lift
    Weight loss can cause the breasts to decrease in cup size and sag down. A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, will remove the excess skin, and tighten the breasts up to a more a suitable position.

Risks & Complications Associated with Gastric Sleeve

Any surgery that is performed will carry risks, just from the anesthesia alone. Patients who are obese and have obesity-related illnesses are at a higher risk for complications to arise during surgery. However, this is why at Clinic 360 we take the necessary precautions to reduce the chances of complications from occurring as much as possible. To assist the surgeons in this, you must always be truthful when completing your health questionnaire- safety is our number one priority. Some complications that can arise up to 10 days after surgery include, but are not limited to:

  • Staple Line Leaks
    This is a leak in the staple line (where the stomach was removed from). Studies have shown it can occur about 1-3% of the time. If it does occur, your surgeon may have to repair the leak laparoscopically.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
    DVT can occur after almost any type of surgery. They have an occurrence rate of less than 1%, however they can be fatal. This is why it is important to follow your surgeons’ instructions and to get up out of bed and move every so often. Surgical removal of the clot, or medication to dissolve the clot, may be your surgeons choice of action.
  • Infection
    Infections at the incision site can occur with any surgery. The incident rate with bariatric surgery is 10-15%. Antibiotics are usually given as treatment, however the severity can depend on the type of bacteria found in the wound.

Long Term Complications, those that can occur after 30 days include gallstone formation, GERD (heartburn), stenosis, and stomach obstruction.

  • Emotional Changes
    Throughout the course of the next year to year and half, you will not only go through many physical changes, but you will experience emotional and psychological changes as well. It will be hard at first to adapt to a new lifestyle. You may experience some isolation from having to stick to a very strict diet, especially when you are attending social events. You may also feel a disconnect from your body, as it takes time to adjust to your new size, but eventually you will grow to be happy with the healthier version of yourself.

You may also feel the need to fill a lost addiction (that being with food) to another type such as drugs or alcohol. Being aware of this can help you prepare and attack any future addiction problems.

As mentioned earlier most patients do reach a weight-loss plateau, and it can be very discouraging to stick to the diet and exercise regime when you aren’t seeing results. There are many tips that your nutritionist can provide you in overcoming this.

If you do feel that you may be developing a form of depression, we do advise you seek help. Do not feel embarrassed of feeling sad or disappointed, these are all normal and predicted emotions that can come with gastric sleeve recovery. Having supporting and loving friends and family can help you get through the ups and downs you will experience, and help keep you on track.

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