Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time

Image of consultant bariatric surgeon, Mr Rishi Singhal

Medically reviewed by Prof Rishi Singhal MBBS, MRCS, FRCS, MD

Recovery  |  Normal Activities   |  Tips  |  Eating 

What is the Recovery time for a gastric sleeve?

Gastric sleeve surgery requires 1-2 days in the hospital and about a week for incisions to heal. Expect body changes in the first 3-6 months. Rest for 2-3 weeks, follow a strict diet, and transition gradually from liquids to solids. A healthy diet is essential for long-term success.

The Gastric sleeve is a significant weight loss surgery that requires a substantial recovery period. It is essential to plan for an extended period of rest and ensure you have a strong support system in place during your recuperation. Continue reading to understand the expected duration and what to anticipate following your sleeve gastrectomy.

Recovery from the Surgery

Immediately after waking up from the anaesthesia, you may experience discomfort and grogginess, with some haziness in your memory. It typically takes a day or two for these effects to completely dissipate. Your throat may feel sore and dry due to the use of a breathing tube during the operation. Additionally, you will have several small surgical incisions, which will be closed with stitches or adhesive and covered with dressings.

Your hospital stay will likely last 1-2 days, during which the medical staff will provide support and address any questions or concerns. Expect to experience soreness, particularly around the surgical incision sites, but the nursing staff will administer pain relief medication as needed. It’s important to start moving around as soon as you feel capable, as this can accelerate your recovery. While it may be challenging initially, regular movement will become easier, so persistence is key.

The surgical wounds should typically heal within a week. During this time, it’s crucial to keep them clean and dry. Dressings can usually be removed around the 7-day mark. Although you will still see the surgical scars, any signs of redness, pain, swelling, or pus around them should prompt immediate consultation with your doctor, as it could indicate an infection.

In the first three to six months following a sleeve gastrectomy, your body may change in response to rapid weight loss. These changes can include body aches, a persistent feeling of fatigue resembling flu-like symptoms, an increased sensation of feeling cold, dry skin, hair thinning and potential hair loss, as well as mood fluctuations. It’s important to note that in a sleeve gastrectomy, a portion of the stomach is surgically separated and removed from the body.

Returning to Normal Activities

Plan to rest for at least 2-3 weeks after your sleeve gastrectomy to allow your body ample time to heal. You will be on a highly restricted diet during this period. It’s advisable to arrange for an extended leave from work and seek assistance from friends and family. While you will still experience some discomfort, it should gradually improve as time passes. During the first few months after surgery, it’s important to avoid engaging in strenuous activities. Specifically, refrain from heavy lifting, no more than 15 to 20 pounds for the initial six weeks of your recovery.

Returning to normal can be difficult for the first few weeks, so we have spoken to some of our patients and they have shared some tips for a successful recovery and Maintaining Your Results.

How long does it take to eat normally after gastric sleeve?

A liquid diet should be consumed for the first 2 weeks following your gastric sleeve surgery. This is to allow time for your body to heal and recover. If you move onto regular foods too quickly it can put pressure on the staple lines which could cause them to rupture. The stomach tissues are still healing 2 weeks after surgery, It’s important not to stretch the small stomach pouch with foods that are hard or indigestible. You should begin to make the transition from liquids to puréed foods at the start of week 3. In week 5 you can begin to eat solid foods. Throughout this process, check in with your healthcare team on guidance to sustain a healthy diet as you transition back onto normal foods foods, sticking to a diet plan will yield greater long-term weight loss success.

Image of consultant bariatric surgeon, Mr Rishi Singhal

All content on this page is reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team lead by Prof Rishi Singhal.

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