Preparing for gastric sleeve surgery is just as important as the operation itself. Like any bariatric procedure, significant lifestyle adjustments are required. This includes pre-operative nutrition, health restrictions, physical activity, and recovery guidelines.
Physical preparation for the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is just half the battle, as mental fortitude is equally important. This guide will act as a roadmap to effectively prepare for weight loss surgery and get on your way to achieving a healthier weight.
The first step in preparing for gastric sleeve surgery is the commitment to pre-operative diet requirements. The purpose of the pre-op regime is to make the procedure safer and easier by shrinking the liver.
The diet length depends on the patient’s body mass index (BMI), which calculates body fat based on height and weight. A higher BMI means a longer pre-operative diet. The regimen consists of lean protein, low-calorie foods, healthy veggies, and sugar-free drinks.
The Clear Liquid Diet
2 days before the operation, you will have to follow a strict all-liquid diet. You will only be able to drink clear, non-caloric liquids.
Pre-op diet tips
- Stop smoking 8 weeks before surgery (no nicotine or tobacco products)
- Drink at least 64 oz of sugar-free liquids daily
- Follow the pre-op diet for the duration required
- For individuals with sleep apnea, bringing their own CPAP machine will help avoid extra out-of-pocket costs
Pack Your Hospital Bag
Before packing, remember that this isn’t a vacation – it’s surgery. Patients do not need to bring a lot, and everything needed should easily fit in a small carry-on size bag. Do not bring jewelry because all metals or piercings will be removed before surgery. Also, take off acrylic nails and remove any nail polish.
- Loose-fitting outfit, robe, jumper, or dress to wear home (the hospital will provide a gown)
- Clean Underwear, Socks, Slippers, and Flip-flops to wear in the shower
- Personal toiletries (Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Hairbrush, and Female sanitary products if needed)
- Laptop/Tablet, Smartphone, Phone Charger/Extension Cords, Books, Magazines, or other reading material
Other useful products: Earplugs/Sleep masks, Chapstick for dry lips, Throat lozenges for dry mouth, Gas X Strips suggested for gas relief medication.
Day of Surgery
Gastric sleeve preparations are crucial on the day of surgery. No food, drink, or medications (unless approved by the doctor) for 8 hours following Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG). At Mexico Bariatric Center® (MBC), private transportation will pick up patients from the hotel.
Just relax and have positive thoughts for a successful gastric sleeve and outcome.
Surgery day tips
- Set up your recovery room by placings all your items and electronics at arm’s reach (Laptops, chargers, tablets)
- Have your slides or comfy shoes ready since you will need to walk around the hospital a short time after your surgery
- Try to relax. You will be in good hands, and it’ll be over before you know it.
MBC patients are monitored and supervised in the hospital for 2 nights to ensure no complications after the surgical procedure. Post-op tests will be administered before discharge. The best form of recovery is to be active.
Walking short distances or simply moving your body helps relieve gas buildup, promote good blood flow, and help reduce the risk of blood clots.
The incision areas should heal nicely without special care as long as they are washed with soap and water daily for one week. It is normal for incisions to discharge clear, yellow, or pink substances.
- Wash your incisions daily with soap and water once a week close
- Take deep breaths with your inspirometer as instructed by your bariatric surgeon
- Drink 64 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes daily
Post-Op Diet & Beyond
In the weeks leading up to your surgery date, get all the post-operative items you need so you are not scrambling for things to eat or relying on less healthy foods.
You must get all the post-operative items in the weeks leading up to your surgery date to avoid eating or relying on less healthy foods. Protein shakes and smoothies are key during the thick liquid and soft solid post-op diet phases. It is normal not to have an appetite for 2 to 4 weeks following surgery. Eating foods high in sugar and fats can lead to dumping syndrome and weight gain.
- Walk at least 30 minutes a day
- Drink 64 ounces of water
- Consume at least 60 grams of protein daily
- No heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for 6 weeks
*Avoiding alcohol for at least 6 months will help the stomach heal and prevent long-term complications.
Time Off Work & Recovery
Expect to return to work in as little as 1 to 2 weeks into recovery if you have an office job. If your job requires you to be on your feet, you can usually get back to work 2 weeks after surgery. For a physically demanding or fast-paced job, wait for 2 to 4 weeks before returning to work.
- Do not lift more than 15 lbs or more for 2 weeks
- Do not lift more than 30 lbs for 4 more weeks
Join a Support Group
Don’t miss any post-surgery tests or instructions given by your primary physician. Finding a support group after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery is an excellent way to get emotional support and solid advice while sharing your experiences.