After gastric sleeve surgery, you will spend a couple of days in the hospital before being sent home to finish your recovery. The first two weeks at home after surgery are generally the hardest for patients, but if you follow the tips below, you can make this time easier on yourself, ensuring greater comfort and better long-term results.
1. Don't cheat with solid foods.
One reason why the first two weeks after gastric sleeve surgery are so hard is that you can't eat solid foods during this time. You'll need to stick to a liquid diet. Note that this is not just to jump-start your weight loss. It's to allow your stomach time to heal after the gastric sleeve procedure. You cannot cheat on this liquid diet. Doing so can lead to an extremely upset stomach, slowed healing, and increased risk of infection. If you think you may be tempted to eat solid foods during this time, take them all out of your house. If you live with others, ask them to keep the solid foods locked away in a cabinet you can't access.
2. Get more rest than you think you need.
After gastric sleeve surgery, most patients are really excited to have set off on a new weight loss journey. They're confident and ready to go — and unfortunately, this pushes them to do too much, too soon after surgery. You should resist the urge to over-exert yourself during these first two weeks. You'll have lots of opportunities to really push yourself a few weeks later when you're healed. For now, you should just be walking a little each day to improve circulation and healing. Don't cycle, don't lift, and don't jog! You may tear your incision.
3. Take your pain relievers exactly as prescribed.
You will have been prescribed pain relievers to keep you comfortable during these first two weeks. It's really important that you take them as often as directed, even if you do not feel pain at the time. Once pain creeps in, it is a lot harder to get rid of it. Also, never take your dose early, and never take more than the recommended dose. The pain relievers typically prescribed — ibuprofen and naproxen — can be hard on the digestive tract if taken too often or at too high a dose, and this is something you need to be very careful of having just had surgery on your stomach. Taking your pain reliever with some liquid is advised.
The first two weeks after gastric sleeve surgery are not always easy, but if you are careful to stick to the liquid diet, limit activity, and take pain relievers exactly as recommended, you'll be on the path to better days.