Gastric Banding Surgery Post Operative Diet
Just as it is critical to follow a diet as directed by a patient’s surgeon and surgery center before surgery, adherence to a post-operative diet is equally important. The time immediately following surgery is a time for scar tissue to form around the band that has been placed. This healing process ensures correct positioning.
The band does limit the amount of food the stomach pouch can hold, but the patient is still in control of what kinds of foods are consumed. Eating improper food during the post-op period can cause damage. The stomach muscles during digestion squeeze and churn to break down food during the process. These actions place stress and pressure on the band and sutures placed during surgery.
Surgeons and surgical clinics commonly have specific eating guidelines for their patients, but general guidelines for post-op gastric banded patients include the following:
First Phase, Gastric Banding Surgery
- Patients typically begin consuming sips of water the day of surgery. Additional fluids are introduced the day following gastric banding. Once fluids are easily tolerated, patients progress to a puree diet. Pureed foods are foods that are easy to swallow. They are the consistency of pudding or moist mashed potatoes. Food should be eaten in 4 to 5 small meals each day. Many patients report a poor appetite immediately following gastric banding. It’s recommended to focus on protein-rich foods.
- The recommended size of each meal is 5 to 6 tablespoons at this stage of a post-op diet. It’s vital to eat slowly (30 to 40 minutes for each meal) by taking small mouthfuls of food. It’s also important to listen to the body and to stop eating as soon as a feeling of fullness registers. This sense of fullness will likely be felt more in the chest area than in the stomach area due to the gastric banding procedure.
- Drinking 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water daily is highly advisable. Dehydration is a major problem linked to bariatric surgery patients since the stomach is so much smaller. Drinking also has a tendency to push food through the stoma that is not healthy for patients that have undergone gastric banding. Eating and drinking should be done separately. Sip water whenever possible.
After the First Four Weeks
Many patients are ready for a solid diet at this phase of their recovery. Each will differ in the foods they can tolerate but the standards for healthy eating habits following a gastric banding procedure include:
- Eat three meals per day and avoid snacking between meals.
- Continue to eat slowly and stop as soon as you feel full. Eating too quickly with a band in place can result in a blockage, pain, or vomiting.
- Do not drink at meal times – Avoid fluids half an hour before meals and for one hour afterward.
- Continue to focus on protein-rich foods
Some foods can be problematic for patients of gastric banding at any phase of their recovery. Each patient is different but some foods that could cause potential problems such as stoma blockages include:
- Vegetables and fruits that contain stringy fibers
- Sticky foods like pasta, rice, peanut butter and bread
- Gum (Swallowing gum could lead to an obstruction that requires medical intervention)
- Meat needs to be chopped into very tiny pieces and chewed extremely well. Some providers advise avoiding steak for at least the first six months following surgery.
- Crunchy foods such as popcorn and nuts are high-risk foods that can contribute to blockages.
Multivitamins after a gastric band
Patients undergoing gastric banding will likely experience an altered ability to absorb nutrients. Many surgeons recommend a regimen of various supplements that may include:
- Multivitamin with 100% daily value, with at least 18 mg iron
- Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D
Six Rules of Dieting After Lap Band Surgery
- Protein is important; protein should be 55% of all your calories.
- Water should be consumed 64 to 80 ounces per day.
- Drinking liquids should be consumed at a different time from consuming food; avoid liquids for a period of 15-30 min before and 30-60 min after consuming foods.
- Eat only three times per day once you begin solid foods ( phase 4).
- Avoid foods that contain sugar; sugar will add calories to your diet and will slow your weight loss progress.
- Eat slowly will help you as the food enters your stomach. Eating slowly will help ensure that you don’t have nausea or vomit.
- Stop eating as soon as you begin to feel full, it normally takes 30 minutes for your brain to realize to you’re full.
- Once you are eating solid foods, do not take in liquid calories.
Gastric Banding Surgery Post-Operative Guide
Proper nutrition and adjustment of the gastric band are critical parts of achieving favorable results following this bariatric procedure. Each surgeon and surgery center will have their protocols, but the following considerations can be used as general guidelines:
Incisions made during the process will typically be covered with a dressing or plastic covering following surgery. Showering is acceptable even with these dressings in place. Bathing, however, should be avoided. The dressing can usually be removed three days following surgery. If sterile-strips (small paper strips running horizontally along incisions) are in place, they should be allowed to come off on their own. They are designed to provide temporary reinforcement to aid the healing of incisions.
Redness and warmth are classic symptoms of infection. Monitor carefully incisions sites. If these symptoms appear, contact the surgeon immediately. Antibiotic treatment may be required. Early intervention can significantly reduce the seriousness of this complication.
Post-op patients of gastric banding can usually resume previous medication regimens the day they return home. It may be easier for patients to break up larger pills if not contraindicated by prescription directions. Mylanta and Gas-X are medications that may be effective in relieving gas pain. Check with your doctor for recommendations if the gas pain is a persistent problem.
Adjustment of the lap band that is the foundation of this procedure will likely be required intermittently. These changes are sometimes referred to as “fills.” Your band will need to be tightened if weight loss stops or if increased hunger despite regular meals becomes consistent. Adjustments are determined on a very individual basis. Several factors can determine what kind of an adjustment is needed including patient weight and adaptation by the stomach and esophagus to the banding.
Your surgeon or dietician will recommend specific diet advice. Common dietary considerations for gastric banding include the following:
- Avoid carbonated drinks because they can cause band slippage or lead to stretching of the pouch.
- Avoid high-calorie drinks such as milkshakes and alcohol for maximum weight loss.
- Strive to eat three nutritionally balanced meals daily
- Avoid consuming fluids with food. Fluids should be consumed one hour before or following meals.
Read additional information about a gastric band diet in our Post Operative Diet for Gastric Banding article.
Various issues can contribute to reoccurring vomiting. Some of these problems include:
- Eating too quickly
- Not chewing food well
- Eating too much
- Eating fatty and greasy foods
It’s good practice to set aside at least 30 minutes before each meal. Contact your doctor if vomiting continues for more than two days. Consuming strictly liquids for a 24 hour period may give the stomach the rest it needs to get back on track.
A common complication of gastric banding is known as productive burping. The regurgitation of non-acidic swallowed food from the upper pouch describes productive burping. This is not normal and can be an indication that the band is too tight or may be a result of stomach swelling related to persistent vomiting. Again, eating too much, eating too quickly, or taking too large bites can contribute to this complication.
The primary symptom of reflux is heartburn and involves burning of the lower esophagus by stomach acids. A band adjusted too tightly or an inflamed stomach lining are common culprits related to this post-op problem with gastric banding.
Most surgeons encourage walking immediately following surgery. This exercise not only aids in weight loss but also helps lower the risk of possible complications such as pneumonia.
Guide to Gastric Banding (Lap-Band):