Considering having gastric sleeve surgery? It is important to understand everything that is involved in this procedure, so you can be sure you know what you are signing up for. This surgery can be incredibly effective in your weight loss efforts, but it also requires a commitment to a new way of living.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Gastric Sleeve?
WeightWise feels the best way for people to lose weight in the long term involves much more than the gastric sleeve procedure itself. It’s a combination of surgery, lifelong changes to your diet, and increased physical activity. In fact, you should be able to return to normal day-to-day activities in a few days. Your stomach will still be healing from your gastric sleeve surgery. Average recovery takes about 2-3 weeks for the incisions in your stomach to heal and between 6-8 weeks for your staple line to heal. After a month, most gastric sleeve patients are able to start a normal exercise regimen and are on the way to a full recovery.
During the first few weeks after surgery, however, you will still need to give your stomach time to heal and readjust. You will only be allowed to drink clear liquids during that time, although protein supplements/shakes are also allowed on an as-needed basis required. During the recovery period, it is extremely important to stay hydrated.
What is a gastric sleeve procedure?
If you undergo this bariatric surgery, the surgeon will remove about 70 to 80 percent of your stomach. The remaining portion of the stomach will be shaped like a tube or sleeve, about the size and shape of a hot dog.
This “sleeve” is now your stomach. The amount of food and drink you consume at one time will be limited from this point on. Because your short-term diet is limited to liquids, your body will begin to adjust to the changes in food intake.
These hormonal changes help reduce hunger cravings and will make you feel fuller faster. It’s all part of the healing process and kickstarts the weight loss. However, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. While the healing process can take a few weeks to a month, overall target weight loss can take nine months to a year.
What’s recovery like after gastric sleeve surgery?
Undergoing this procedure is not a small decision. It is a laparoscopic surgery that is done at a hospital and requires anesthesia. You will be sore, and your abdominal area will be swollen. We will talk with you about pain medication and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible after the procedure.
Because we use several small incisions instead of one large incision, recovery time for a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass surgery is much shorter. The first two weeks after any weight-loss surgery, you will be on a very restricted diet with very few calories. This may seem impossible at first, but because you won’t be as hungry, it will make things easier.
During this time, you will probably feel tired. After all, you have just undergone major surgery and you are not eating what you normally do! Be sure to listen to your body and get plenty of rest and know that as you start healing in the next few weeks, you will begin to start introducing soft foods. Within a month, solid foods will begin to make an appearance.
It is also important to note that for the first six weeks following surgery, your incision area will be fragile as it heals. The stapled area is what’s holding the sleeve together, so it is important to continue to follow the designated eating plan outlined by your medical team. Eating too much may cause discomfort and even injury.
The Weight Loss Program from WeightWise
Our team understands that you probably have more questions about gastric sleeve and what’s involved. During the initial consultations with our bariatric surgeons, to reaching your ideal weight a year after your procedure, WeightWise will be with you. We can help answer your questions and make sure you have what you need to begin your transformational journey of weight loss.
Our surgeons will talk to you about your health history, why you want to lose weight, ask about any pain medication you are taking, and determine if you’re physically and mentally ready for the procedure. You’ll also meet with our dietitians, who will give you a pre-op diet, as well as a very structured diet plan for the rest of your life.
The WeightWise exercise physiologists will talk with you about past injuries and design a workout program customized for you. Regular exercise is a major component of our program and you’ll work towards getting at least 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week.
Completely changing your lifestyle is more than just a physical endeavor. Dealing with these changes on your own – or even dealing with less than supportive friends and family – can be the most difficult part of the process. Every WeightWise client will also be paired with a patient advocate.
Having someone to talk to about the initial side effects of losing weight, celebrating successes, or discussing insurance issues makes the rest of the process that much easier. Consider them your personal cheerleaders, ready to lift you up when you need it!
The holistic approach we take to long-term weight loss at WeightWise allows our clients to receive a comprehensive program. By keeping all aspects under one roof, you won’t need to travel all over town to different facilities or receive contradictory messages. When you’re ready to learn more about our program, we’ll be here for you.