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Eating during Lap-Band® surgery recovery

October 26, 2021

When considering or preparing for the Lap-Band® surgery, one of the most common questions patients have is about what and when they can eat during recovery. In order to allow your stomach to heal properly, you’ll need to follow specific guidelines for eating in the weeks following your procedure.

Plans will differ from patient to patient. Your specialist or dietitian will help you develop a comprehensive plan that takes your specific situation, as well as any food sensitivities, into account. With that said, here is an example of a standard eating plan during Lap-Band surgery recovery.

First 2 days after surgery

In the first two days following surgery, proper hydration is essential, and you should be getting 48 to 64 ounces of fluid each day. During this portion of recovery, you’ll be limited to water and other clear liquids, including:

  • Fruit juices, diluted to avoid nausea (no more that 2 cups a day)
  • Clear soup broths
  • Low-calorie sports drinks

Sip your liquids consistently to remain hydrated. Sucking on ice chips may help if you’re struggling to reach the ideal fluid intake.

Days 3 through 7

During this portion of recovery, you’ll continue with your liquid diet, consuming 48-64 ounces a day. However, you will no longer be limited to clear liquids.

In this phase, you can add chicken, beef, and vegetable broth to your diet as long as they don’t contain cream. You can also consume skim milk, sugar-free fruit juice, and sugar-free frozen fruit juice. Your dietitian may advise you to use protein supplements to keep up your protein intake.

Days 8 through 21

Once you receive the go-ahead from your surgeon, you can progress to the next portion of the Lap-Band recovery plan. While you can return to most of the foods you ate pre-surgery, they’ll need to be pureed until smooth, allowing the food to pass through the stoma (stomach opening) without risking blockage.

You’ll need to start incorporating high-protein foods into your diet, like pureed fish, chicken, and vegetables. Other ideal foods during this stage include:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Hummus
  • Egg salad
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pureed soup
  • Gelatin
  • Baby food
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Apple sauce
  • Low-fat yogurt or pudding

At this stage in Lap-Band recovery, it’s important that you don’t drink liquids while eating, as it can take up room in your stomach that should be devoted to your pureed food. Refrain from drinking 30 minutes before and after each meal.

Days 22 through 42

In the final stage of recovery, you can add soft foods to your diet. This includes things like fish, ground turkey, hot cereals, bananas, and rice. For the same reason above, avoid drinking liquid at or near your mealtime. If you experience nausea and vomiting while adjusting to solid foods, your specialist may recommend you return to the liquid diet for a longer period of time.

As you continue to heal and progress to foods that require chewing, your recovery team will stress the importance of cutting food into small pieces and chewing very thoroughly before you swallow. Your new stomach opening is smaller, and you’ll need to make changes in your eating habits to accommodate it.  

If you don’t follow this advice, it’s possible you may experience nausea, stomach discomfort, and vomiting. It may also increase the chance of complications, such as slipping of the gastric band, pouch expansion, and stomach blockage.

The Latest

Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.