Undergoing surgery can be a nerve-wracking process no matter how simple the procedure is. There’s also the fear of what recovery will look like and the pain that may be associated with it. Learn more about the bariatric surgery recovery process, from the Lap-Band® Procedure to gastric bypass surgery.
Different Recovery Times
The recovery times for bariatric surgery will vary depending upon the procedure you undergo. Most bariatric procedures are now performed laparoscopically. The bariatric surgeon is able to perform the procedure by making a few small incisions in the abdomen. However, there are some instances in which individuals may have to have an open procedure, which will require a longer recovery time. Procedures like gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy that involve rerouting and cutting the intestines or the stomach also come with the risk of more complications and a longer recovery time.
Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve
Following the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgeries, you will need to stay in the hospital overnight and up to a few days. Because the sleeve gastrectomy involves partial “amputation” of your stomach, and the gastric bypass surgery involves cutting and rerouting your stomach and intestines, you are likely to feel some pain and some swelling. Your doctor can provide pain medicine to lessen the pain. You are required stay in the hospital so that your surgical team can monitor your vitals and ensure there are no post-operative complications.
Your surgical team will give you a specific plan to follow regarding activity limitations and food restrictions, but it is recommended that you take about one to two weeks off from work. Your recovery period will last about three to six weeks (depending on the type of procedure), during which your caloric intake will be severely restricted and you will have to follow a special diet. You will slowly transition from clear liquids during the first few days following surgery, to a liquid diet, to a pureed food diet, to soft foods only, and then to the full range of foods. It is important that you do not start eating solid foods too soon; you will need to transition slowly. Light activity is recommended, like walking, but strenuous physical activity shouldn’t be continued until about a month after your surgery.
The Lap-Band Program
While recovery from gastric bypass surgery and the sleeve gastrectomy procedure can take upwards of six weeks, recovery time following the Lap-Band Procedure is typically much shorter. While the Lap-Band Surgery is performed laparoscopically just as most other surgeries are, the quicker recovery time can be attributed to the fact that the Lap-Band Procedure does not require any rerouting or cutting of the intestines or stomach. The procedure can be performed within an outpatient center and is typically completed in under an hour. Patients can usually go home the same day as the procedure.
It takes about one month for your stomach to heal from surgery, and it is at around this time that you can get your first adjustment. After the procedure, you’ll need to start with a liquid diet, then move to soft foods for a period of time before incorporating solid foods back into your diet.
The most important thing to focus on after bariatric surgery is taking it easy and taking the time to heal. For more resources, visit: https://www.lapband.com/resources/.
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