“When will I be able to…?” It’s a common opening sentence for gastric sleeve patients, both before and after surgery. Everyone wants to jump right back into their regular life immediately, but some things take time. How much time? Read on for a typical Endobariatric timeline for some of the biggest milestones.
At Endobariatric, we usually have patients up and heading for the restroom two to three hours after surgery. (We don’t use urinary catheters, and you’ll have to pee fairly soon!) After 24 hours, patients will be doing a few laps around hospital hallways because the more walking you do, the faster you’ll feel better.
If everything looks good, we’ll discharge local patients after 24 hours and out-of-town patients after 48 hours. We like to take that extra 24 hours to observe non-locals for issues that may arise before they travel.
- Resume regular medications.
If you take medication for existing conditions (like diabetes), we’ll take care of everything while you’re in the hospital. As soon as you’re discharged, however, you can start taking your routine medications—with a few new cautions. You won’t be able to swallow two or more medications at the same time, so you’ll need to adjust your schedule to space them out at least 45 minutes.
- Return to work.
Depending on the kind of work you do, you may be able to go back to it immediately after returning home. You can drive three or four days after surgery, and desk jobs won’t be a problem for most patients as soon as five days post-surgery. If your job involves heavy lifting, however, we’ll restrict you for about a month.
- Full liquids.
For the first week after surgery, you’ll be limited to clear liquids (water, broth, tea), but you can move to full liquids starting at week two. This is when you can add things like milk, drinkable yogurt (without fruit chunks), vegetable juice, and creamed soups.
- Soft foods.
Woo-hoo, it’s time for actual food! After three weeks of clear and full liquids, you’ll likely be ready for soft foods—the last step before a regular diet. This phase may include foods such as eggs, cottage cheese, canned fruit, yogurt, and other items that don’t require your still-healing sleeve to do a ton of work.
Four to six weeks
- Solid food.
About a month after gastric sleeve surgery, you’ll probably be ready to resume eating solid food. We do advocate taking your time with each phase and not progressing until your body feels ready. So if you need or want more time at the soft foods stage, take it! And keep listening to body as you incorporate different proteins and produce.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll be walking within hours of the procedure. And we encourage you to keep building up that walking time as you fully recover. Activities like walking, swimming, and cycling can be added whenever your body feels up to it. Just remember not to overdo it at first, which can prolong your recovery. At about six weeks post-op, you should be ready for a combination of cardiovascular exercise and weight lifting.
Whenever you want to
This is top of mind for many patients, who are happy to learn that there are no restrictions on this fun activity. Having sex won’t cause the sleeve to burst or leak, nor will it lead to a popped staple. So as soon as you and your partner feel good about it, go for it!
- Staple removal.
There’s no need to see a physician about staple removal because, at least at Endobariatric, we use titanium staples. That means they’ll never dissolve and will stay in your body forever. Not to worry, though: They’re 100 percent biocompatible and won’t ever cause issues.
Anyways, if you have another doubt don’t hesitate to send us a message to our webpage, also I invite you to follow us on all our social networks, we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, we also have our YouTube channel where I’m the host of the #AskDrA Show, where I (Dr. Alvarez) answer frequently asked questions that are sent to me with the Hashtag #AskDrA, subscribe to it! we talk about very interesting subjects.
If you want a more personalized experience and you have Snapchat, follow me (Dr. Alvarez) to see my day both in my daily routine and in the operating room, add me! We will have a great time! My username is: gmoalvarez.
“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.