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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 ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at www.lapband.com/safety/ for more information on its benefits and risks.

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