After Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery ...whats's next

You will be transferred from the theatre to a high dependency unit so that your progress can be monitored. This includes your recovery from the anaesthetic and, also includes your heart rate and respiration. This is a critical time to deal with any unexpected complications but rest assured that you will be looked after by highly trained, specialist staff.

Once these staff are satisfied with your progress you will be taken back to the ward or your room. There, a nurse will come and perform some routine checks which include blood pressure, heart and lung function, and will check the operation wounds as well. He/she will hook you up to an intravenous (IV) drip to ensure that you receive vital fluids and you will also be connected to a catheter (urine collection), drainage tubes (excess fluids) and a tube running from your mouth into your stomach. That is designed to remove any excess air or fluid.

Even though you will feel disorientated after the surgery and unaware of things in general, you will notice pain and discomfort. Your abdomen will be swollen and tender which is completely normal. You will be given painkillers to manage this discomfort.

You will be given another injection of Heparin to prevent blood clots and you may have special compression pads attached to your legs. These can be inflated which helps blood circulation and so reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

You will be encouraged to get up and move around as soon as it is safe for you to do so. This is common practice in hospitals these days and is designed to reduce the risks of chest infections and deep vein thrombosis. As soon as you can move around then the various medical paraphernalia will be removed.

You will only be allowed to drink water in the first 24 hours after surgery. This is to make sure that there are no problems with you consuming liquids or retaining fluids. Following that you will then go onto a liquid diet for the next two weeks: this will then be followed by semi-solids and then solid food.

The same method of eating and drinking applies to this surgery like all the others: avoid large portions of high fat, calorie dense food, chew your food slowly and pause between each mouthful. You can almost have normal sized portions of food but still approach this with caution.

One difference here is that you are allowed to have something sugary although in moderation. There is little to no risk of ‘dumping syndrome’ due to the fact that food can pass smoothly and steadily from the stomach to the intestine unlike the gastric bypass.

You can expect to stay in hospital for 2 to 3 nights or longer if you have had a duodenal switch/gastric bypass.

After that time and if your surgeon and his/her team are satisfied with your progress you will then be discharged from hospital or the clinic. Before you leave you will be given a date and time for your first aftercare appointment and a supply of painkillers. And, an emergency contact number in case anything goes wrong. Complications are fairly uncommon but if something does happen then you will need to contact your surgeon immediately.

Have someone come and pick you up from the hospital that can also check up on you over the next few days. Once you arrive back home get plenty of rest and do not overdo things. You will be on medication plus painkillers and this combined with the after effects of the anaesthesia will make you feel tired and ‘under the weather’. Your abdomen will feel bruised although the painkillers will control this. You will have had stitches and these will either be the dissolvable type or the non-dissolvable type: if they are the latter then you will have to return to the hospital or clinic in a week’s time for them to be removed. This will also give your team a chance to see how you are doing.

You can expect it to be 2 to 3 weeks before you have fully recovered, although you may be able to go back to work after a week. Check with your surgeon about this, especially if you have a heavy manual job.

The advice given here is that which is applied to the other procedures: follow the instructions given to you by your surgeon, stick to the prescribed eating plan, and take exercise (gentle to start with) and a daily nutritional supplement (if required). If you follow this guidance then weight loss will be dramatic and sustained.

Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery guide sections

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