Sleeve gastrectomy has emerged as one of the most popular and effective weight loss surgery procedures in the last few years. If you have also made the decision to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve surgery, you should understand that your gastric sleeve recovery time and long-term weight loss after the operation will largely depend on your lifestyle choices.
Yes, gastric sleeve will help you lose 60-70% of the extra weight but it’s not a magic wand. After your surgery, you’ll have to start eating cleaner and healthier, cut down your portion size, and work out regularly. This will help you recover faster and sustain your weight loss so the pounds don’t come back.
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If you are curious to know What is The Recovery Time For Gastric Sleeve Surgery, read the following gastric sleeve recovery guide to learn what you can expect after your sleeve gastrectomy.
Gastric sleeve: Day of the surgery
Once your surgery is done and the anesthesia wears off, you’ll wake up in your hospital room. You won’t feel much pain but you may feel a little sluggish and tired. You will still have an IV in your arm to allow your doctor to administer pain medication if necessary.
The 5-6 tiny incisions made by your surgeon will be well-sutured and bandaged up to heal. You may feel a little pain and soreness in the incision located at the site where your surgeon removed a big part of your stomach.
During this day, you are only allowed to eat a cup of ice chips every few hours to help with dry throat and dehydration. You may think you’ll be hungry but since a large part of your stomach has been removed and the hunger-causing hormone is very low, you won’t feel any hunger until the next day.
Your doctor may recommend you to get up and walk around your room as walking helps lower the pain. Other than that, you will spend most of the day lying on your back on the hospital bed.
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1 day after gastric sleeve
If your surgery went as planned and there were no complications, you’ll be able to drink water the day after gastric sleeve surgery.
The anesthesia will have completely worn off and you may start to feel more pain. If that happens, your doctor may suggest pain medications to keep you comfortable. Your IV may come off and you’ll be prescribed oral pain medications.
To varying degrees, it is normal to feel weakness, nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness, flatulence, gas pain, and loose stools during this time. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor and nurses if you have any concerns.
The majority of patients don’t feel hungry during this gastric sleeve surgery recovery time but everyone feels thirsty. You will be able to drink clear liquids such as broth, milk, unsweetened juice, sugar-free gelatin, and soup. But make sure you only consume small amounts, and nothing with caffeine or sugar.
Later in the day, you may get discharged and be free to go home. Your surgeon will give you prescriptions to manage pain and care instructions for your incision wounds.
VSG recovery: 1 week after the surgery
By now, you will be well-rested with little to no pain. Patients of gastric sleeve surgery experience most pain during the first week after surgery. After that, the pain starts to subside and becomes bearable.
If it doesn’t, it’s important to let your surgeon know. Also, if you experience vomiting or pain in the back or shoulders, be sure to call your surgeon.
During this gastric sleeve recovery time, you will be able to drink both clear liquids as well as full liquids like protein shakes and thin creamy soups.
You still won’t be allowed to drink alcohol or eat anything that requires chewing. Make sure you sip plenty of water throughout the day because your body will no longer absorb liquids from the solid food items.
Many patients also feel exhausted during this time because of the limited diet and fewer calories. Your doctor will recommend maximum bed rest during this period so you can heal faster.
Don’t lift anything heavy or climb stairs at this time (climbing one step every few seconds is okay). But you can resume driving after 7 days of undergoing sleeve gastrectomy (if your doctor permits it).
3 weeks recovery after gastric sleeve surgery
If you are like most patients, you will be able to return to normal routine activities, including work, by this time. But make sure to take it easy because your body is still recovering from the surgery and getting used to the new dietary habits.
There shouldn’t be any noticeable or serious pain by now; just a tugging or itchy feeling which is completely normal.
Now, you will be allowed to eat soft pureed foods like blended steamed/boiled vegetables, ground beef/chicken, soft cheese, scrambled eggs, fish, beans, soup, and yogurt. Make sure you blend these food items with broth, juice, fat-free milk, or water before consuming. If it’s not blended – you can’t eat it!
Please note that eating any type of solid foods at this time like seeds, nuts, or fibrous vegetables can cause leaks by rupturing your staple line. So, stick to the diet recommended by your doctor.
Your surgeon will also suggest some light workout activities 3 weeks after gastric sleeve. It could be something as easy as to go on daily walks for 5-10 minutes at a time, 3-5 times a day.
Doing any sort of weight lifting exercises is not recommended but ask your surgeon since every patient is different.
1 month after gastric sleeve recovery
After first 30 days of your VSG surgery, you will finally be able to start eating some solid foods in addition with the pureed foods.
You can now include well-cooked vegetables, chicken, fish, fruit, low-sugar cereal, sweet potatoes, and low-fat cheese in your diet. However, you are still not allowed to eat or drink nuts, fibrous vegetables, steak, white potatoes, sugar, soda, and high-fat foods.
By now you’d have lost 20-25 pounds of weight and you’ll be feeling lighter and more energetic. You wouldn’t be feeling much pain and as a result, might start taking fewer pain medications. Make sure to get in touch with your doctor if there is still significant pain.
3 months after gastric sleeve surgery
By this time, you will be able to engage in activities such as dancing, swimming, and yoga as your body will have become used to your new shape and the wounds would have mostly healed. Make sure to talk to your doctor about taking special bariatric vitamins and supplements.
You shouldn’t feel any pain by this time so you’ll probably be off the prescription meds. If you are still experiencing pain, nausea, or any other issue, let your doctor know about it. You are supposed to drink and chew your food slowly otherwise it can lead to vomiting.
Your hunger would have returned to normal by now so it’s important to ensure you only eat healthy foods in small portions.
A lot of gastric sleeve patients experience hair loss that starts during month 2 and gradually stops by month 3. If your hair loss continues even subsequently 3 months after gastric sleeve, talk to your doctor and they may recommend extra protein or multivitamins.
You will be able eat normal solid food now, including fish, chicken, and red meat. Technically, you can start eating carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread, and white potatoes but eat them sparingly.
Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day as it will help you stay hydrated and keep hunger at the bay.
Also, ensure to engage in modest-level physical workouts (walking, yoga, and swimming) for no more than 20-30 minutes a day. Depending on your doctor’s advice, you may start to introduce light weights in your workout regime.
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6 months after gastric sleeve
By this point in gastric sleeve surgery recovery time, you would have lost 40-50 pounds of weight and your appearance would have become considerably thinner. Be ready to receive multitude of compliments everywhere you go!
You will be able to eat all solid foods by 6 months after gastric sleeve so it’s okay to indulge in your favorite treats – as long as you watch the portion size and don’t make it a habit.
You will find that your tolerance to crunchy and spicy foods is really low right now since you’ve only been eating pureed and mild-tasting foods so far. So take your time and make the transition to normal solid foods slowly. Enjoy every bite of the food you eat.
If you want, you can ask your doctor about starting a higher-paced and rigorous workout regime. You can go to the gym post 4 months after gastric sleeve, as long as your surgeon has okayed the routines you’ll perform.
It is important to exercise at least 5 times a week at this stage even if it’s only brisk walking, bicycling, or yoga.
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1 year after gastric sleeve
If you were severely obese before the surgery and followed the post-op diet perfectly, you would have lost 70-90 pounds by one year post gastric sleeve (depending on your pre-surgery weight). Make sure you continue to eat nutrient-dense foods like lean meat, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Some patients fall off the healthy-eating wagon after a few months of undergoing a bariatric surgery, and start indulging in their favorite junk foods. Do NOT make the same mistake, or your new, small stomach will stretch and you’ll gain all the weight back.
If you are having trouble working out every day, it’s better to join a class or a buddy who will keep you accountable. Consider joining a yoga class, spinning class, or a martial arts class to keep things interesting during recovery after gastric sleeve.
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2 years after gastric sleeve
If you have stuck to eating healthier (most of the times) and working out (4-5 times a week), you would have lost 80-90% of your extra weight 2 years after gastric sleeve, if not all. In addition to eating nutritious foods, it’s critical that you also take supplements for vitamins and minerals.
Also, schedule quarterly or half-yearly appointments with your doctors to measure your progress and ensure you stay on track.
If you suffered from any obesity-related health issues before surgery, such as asthma, sleep apnea, hypertension, PCOS (for women), diabetes, osteoarthritis, or heart disease, most of these issues would have gone into remission by this time after gastric sleeve.
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10 years after gastric sleeve
Research shows that nearly 23% of patients undergo a revision surgery within 10 years of gastric sleeve surgery time. These results are mostly in line with our own experience with patients.
A revision surgery happens when the patient doesn’t follow the recommended guidelines and as a result, experience stomach stretching. Once your stomach is stretched to its pre-op size, you will start feeling higher levels of hunger, and go back to eating enormous portions you were eating before surgery.
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However, the majority of patients who are very dedicated to a healthier body and mind, continue to persevere and maintain their thinner body shape for life.
If you are serious about improving the quality of your life so you can look (and feel) younger and more energetic, you will maintain your smaller stomach size for years to come.
Also, it’s okay to have cheat days along your journey. Instead of beating yourself up for all the treats you indulged in, pick up where you left and get back on the track. Make sure you stay in touch with your doctor so any complications (like vitamin deficiency) are caught early on.
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We hope your question – What is The Recovery Time For Gastric Sleeve Surgery is answered in this post. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us!