If you've ever found yourself in a position where losing weight is difficult, or even seems impossible, we understand. Depending on your current condition, potential health problems, and physical ability, losing weight can be very hard through diet and exercise alone. However, the rewards of weight loss for health and quality of life are innumerable. If you're considering weight loss surgery, specifically a gastric sleeve, you might be concerned about the amount of time you'll have to take off work. Though everyone's recovery varies and is specific to them, here's what you need to know about the recovery process.
Gastric Sleeve Procedure
Before discussing the recovery process, general information regarding the actual procedure is beneficial. A gastric sleeve is a viable option for anyone who is considered medically obese, but is not suffering from any serious medical conditions. The goal of this surgery is to reduce the size of the stomach, converting it into a narrow tube. This is done by making a few small incisions in the abdomen, and then using a stapling device to reduce the stomach's volume. The result is a smaller stomach that produces less of the hunger hormone and is also incapable of consuming large amounts of food. This procedure is:
- Minimally invasive
- Involves a short hospital stay
- Does not require a bypass, allowing the stomach to preserve its natural function
- Induces very significant and quick weight loss
Gastric Sleeve Recovery
If you're seriously considering a gastric sleeve, but concerned about the recovery time and how long you'll have to take off work, the good news is that this type of procedure is laparoscopic surgery. This is much less invasive than an open surgery, where a large incision is made. The hospital stay for laparoscopic surgeries is generally two days, and a gastric sleeve is no different. Here's what is expected of you after surgery:
- Sugar-free noncarbonated liquids for the first seven days
- Puréed foods for the next three weeks
- Regular foods four weeks after surgery
- Twice-a-day multivitamins
- B-12 injections once a month indefinitely
- Frequent medical checkups for the first few months after surgery
Gastric Sleeve Recovery Length
Besides your diet restrictions, you can expect slight discomfort and soreness the first week after a gastric sleeve procedure. You will be given pain medication for this first week and asked to avoid any strenuous activity. With that being said, after the first two days in the hospital, and then giving your body a few days to recuperate at home, most people find themselves back at work after about a week or two. This, of course, depends on a person's abilities to heal and other unique factors, as well as the physical demands of their job. Some people may take longer than a week to fully recover and be able to return to work, especially if their job involves heavy lifting and extended time on your feet. If your job is very physical, you may need up to four weeks to recover enough to return to work. It's important to talk to a doctor about when you might be able to return to work, as they can specifically analyze your unique situation. However, there are steps you can follow to return to work as quickly as possible:
- Rest whenever you feel tired. Sleep is incredibly important for recovery, and your body has just undergone surgery.
- Try to complete a small amount of walking as soon as possible after you're home, each day. Start very small, slowly increasing your amount of steps until you feel more confident.
- Perform breathing exercises at home. This will help your body heal.
- Don't lift anything heavy! Avoid anything that causes strain to your body for at least a week after the procedure.
- Hold a pillow over your incisions if you feel the need to cough or sneeze. This will help relieve the pressure and avoid any potential pain.
- Follow your diet restrictions extremely carefully. This is essential for a healthy recovery and effective surgery.
- When you begin to introduce soft food back into your diet, start with just a few bites. You may be surprised with how quickly you feel full.
- Create a food journal and track which foods make you feel any discomfort, and which foods you can tolerate. This will help you to avoid foods in the future that don't agree with your new dietary restrictions.
- Check with your doctor before drinking any alcohol.
Gastric Sleeve Incision Care
Following these steps carefully will not only ensure the procedure works more effectively, but you'll also guarantee a quicker and less painful recovery. Follow your doctor's advice carefully, and be sure to take pain medicines exactly as they are directed. Regarding your incision care, make sure you continuously keep the area dry and clean. Clean the area each day with warm soapy water, patting it dry and changing the bandage. Using anything stronger than soap and water can slow the healing process.
A gastric sleeve procedure is a fairly minimally invasive surgery and requires only a few weeks away from work. While everyone is slightly different, following the proper diet restrictions, incision care, and day-to-day considerations can accelerate the healing process. Our facilities at My New Beginning are designed to make your weight loss surgery and stay as comfortable and seamless as possible. We are passionate about weight loss surgery and how it can transform and change your life for the better. Offering many weight loss surgery options, our qualified surgical weight loss team will walk you through the entire process and find out which procedure is right for you and your lifestyle. We emphasize education and support throughout the entire process, both before and after surgery. Follow our blog for a great place to find health tips and topics if you're ready to change your life and pursue weight loss surgery. Please contact us with any questions you may have, and feel free to call us at (214) 324-6127.