Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for overall health. It makes you look and feel better both physically and mentally as well as reduces the risk for many diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancers.
Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons, many people struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. They try their best following a well-balanced diet and staying physically active, but they still can’t seem to shed a few pounds. In this case, their next best option is to undergo bariatric surgery to help them lose weight.
Because there are several types of bariatric surgery, many individuals often consider undergoing gastric sleeve surgery which involves the removal of 80% of the stomach. Although the procedure is very straightforward with low complication rates, it is important that patients recover from it properly to avoid any serious consequences.
In this post, we outline five things you should know for a successful recovery from gastric sleeve surgery.
Plan for recovery at home
Generally, a successful recovery starts before you have the procedure. This means making sure your home is ready and well equipped with everything you need to support a speedy recovery.
Since you will be resting in bed for a few days after the surgery, you should ensure that your bed is comfortable and meets your special needs. For example, a type of bed which can give you the support needed for optimal healing and rest is the adjustable bed.
However, there are other bed options available, so make sure you do your research about what the best hospital beds for home use are after surgery so you can choose the bed that best suits your needs.
Adhere to diet guidelines
After undergoing the procedure, you will be given a diet plan by your medical team. Adhering to the diet guidelines instructed by your doctors is very important for aiding a speedy recovery as well as avoiding any serious complications.
For example, during the first week after your surgery, you will be limited to a clear liquid diet such as water, no-sugar protein shakes and soups. However, as time progresses, you can gradually add soft, pureed foods to your diet and then finally return to solid foods.
Because weight-loss surgeries can change your digestion and limit the amount of nutrients your body receives, you might want to consider taking bariatric vitamins and mineral supplements to support your overall health.
Avoid strenuous activities
For the first six weeks after your surgery, you shouldn’t do any strenuous activities. Your body may feel weak and tired easily, so you should avoid lifting anything heavier than 15 to 20 pounds or engaging in intense workout sessions which can drain your energy.
Instead, your doctors will recommend that you start with simple activities such as walking to encourage blood flow and breathing exercises to strengthen your abdomen. After a few weeks, you can gradually increase your physical activity and reduce the amount of time you are sitting or lying down as that can further help you keep the weight off and make you feel better too.
Take care of your wound
Taking care of your wound is another important part of your recovery period. It is crucial that you do it properly in order to reduce the chance of infection after your gastric sleeve surgery. Some symptoms you should watch out for include increased redness, foul-smelling fluid, severe pain and fever.
In the meantime, follow these steps to care for your wound:
- Always wash your hands before touching it.
- Wash your wound with warm water and preferably antibacterial soap for a few minutes to eliminate any germs you may have picked up.
- Replace your gauze pad frequently with a fresh one.
- Apply Vaseline to the incision to keep the skin moisturized.
Don’t skip your follow-up appointments
After your surgery, you will also be required to attend regular follow-up appointments for the rest of your life. These appointments will most likely be more frequent during the first two years after your procedure and eventually turn into annual checkups with a GR.
During these appointments, you will do a complete physical health check as well as blood tests to check your vitamin and mineral levels. Your doctor will monitor your progress and give you advice and support about your diet and exercise, whether you need to change up a few things to speed up the recovery process.
In case your mental health is low, you will also be provided with emotional and psychological support.
The time it takes for you to recover from gastric sleeve surgery will depend on several factors, with your overall health being the most important one. Although most people recover after a week or two, it is important that you continue to do your best and heal properly in order to ensure long-time success.
From committing to a good diet and exercising regularly to attending your follow-up appointments and taking care of your wound, there are several important steps you should take to aid recovery.
If you need help along the way, be sure to refer to our post and follow our doctor-approved instructions.