There’s no better way to decide whether undergoing bariatric surgery is the right step for you than getting familiar with everything both the procedure itself and the recovery process involve. While sleeve gastrectomy is a well-known and commonly used treatment for advanced obesity, it doesn’t bring satisfactory results overnight and without additional effort from the patient. Getting back to full health after surgery, even one performed using minimally invasive methods, takes time. It’s important for patients to know what to expect directly after their surgery and in the following weeks to minimise the risk of complications and achieve the expected results.
Acquiring such knowledge is especially beneficial if you’re planning on having bariatric surgery such as gastric sleeve abroad. It can help you feel more at ease and reduce the amount of stress involved in finding yourself in a new environment on top of the usual uneasiness many people experience in relation to surgeries and hospital stays.
What Is Sleeve Gastrectomy and When Is It Performed?
A sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve is a surgical procedure used to significantly reduce the size of the stomach by physically removing a big part of the organ. This results in a substantial reduction of the stomach’s capacity, which limits the amount of food that can be consumed at once, aiding obese patients in the weight loss process.
As with other types of bariatric surgery, gastric sleeve surgery is an option available for patients who:
- cannot achieve satisfactory results with other weight loss methods such as weight reduction diets or exercise programs,
- are morbidly obese (this means a BMI above 40 or above 35 when combined with obesity-related health problems),
- are willing to follow dietary and lifestyle recommendations after the operation.
Recovery After Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Timeline for Getting Back to Health
The surgery itself is performed laparoscopically under general anaesthesia and usually takes about one hour to complete. Thanks to the use of laparoscopy, this procedure requires the surgeon to make only small incisions in the upper area of the abdomen. In effect, the surgical invasiveness is reduced to a minimum, minimising the risk of complications and shortening the recovery time. Hospital stay following a laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery is limited to a few days unless any adverse symptoms are observed – patients can usually go home as soon as three days after the operation and resume their typical daily activities within a week. However, it’s essential to postpone any activities that are physically demanding for at least a few weeks to give the body enough time to regain its strength.
Bariatric Diet After Sleeve Gastrectomy
Adhering to a strict bariatric diet prior to and after gastric surgery is necessary to ensure proper recovery. Patients should limit their food intake to liquids in the first weeks after surgery and start adding new food items as per the clinic’s recommendations. During the recovery period, it is important to stick to low-calorie and light meals, provide the organism with enough vitamins and minerals, as well as eat smaller portions but more frequently.
Many factors can affect the speed of post-surgery recovery, including the patient’s health condition before surgery, genetic predispositions, or even being a smoker, as nicotine can negatively affect the healing process. Getting back to health after sleeve gastrectomy is, therefore, a highly individual process and complying with medical advice and making positive lifestyle changes are paramount to ensuring optimal results.