According to Dr Richard Nahas, sleeve gastrectomy is a complicated surgical procedure that allows you to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. However, the recovery from the surgery is a slow and gradual process that may be stretched out over a year. Let’s check out what to expect in the first year after sleeve gastrectomy surgery.
- Day 1 after surgery – You’ll have a restless night with frequent dozing in and out of sleep. Today, your radiologist would administer a swallow test to check for leaks before you’re allowed water. You’ll also be visited by residents, nurses, surgeons, dieticians and even students. The pain would be quite noticeable after the first day and you’ll get pain medications to tackle it.
You’ll also experience a sore, dry and swollen throat that gets relief from slow sips of water. Your mobility would also be limited, and you’ll be on a primarily liquid diet with sugar-free juice, soups, broths and the occasional gelatin.
- Three months after surgery – During this period, you’re on your own and highly likely to experience the most pain within day 3 and day 6 of surgery. You’ll be more active and won’t need to be carted around. If you experience pain levels that are unbearable, let your surgeon know. The pain would be mostly localised around the incisions and slowly improve with each passing day.
Your doctor would probably still keep you on a primarily liquid diet with water, broth, Jell-O, juice, soups, milk and protein shakes. You’ll be kept on a sugar-free and fat-free diet during this period. You’ll also be exhausted quickly for the first few weeks since your body is spending most of its resources on recovery after the surgery.
- Six months after surgery – After six months of the procedure, you’ll lose around 30 to 40 percent of your body weight. Now is the right time to start an exercise routine and incorporate healthy lifestyle choices. During this period, you may experience post-dumping syndrome, flare-ups and other post-surgery side effects.
- Nine months after surgery – Make sure to stick to the recommended diet, lifestyle changes and workout routine so that you can lose a substantial amount of weight and sustain it. You’ll need to get routine visits to the doctor. If you haven’t met your weight loss goals, you may be recommended for revisional bariatric surgery at this point.
- One year after surgery – After the 12 to 18 months period, most patients lose around 70 per cent or more of their excess body weight. If that’s not the case with you, you should consult your surgeon. This is also the period when you may resume normal activities with some additional dietary changes.
Dr Richard Nahas suggests that you don’t miss the doctor visits that mark the milestones of the recovery period after the surgery. Some procedures would require visits every 3 months while others are more frequent and conducted every month.