Pre/Post Surgery Information

Gastric sleeve surgery requires a long term approach for successful weight loss. Your journey towards your target weight will begin before the operation, as you prepare for sleeve gastrectomy.

Preparing for Gastric Sleeve Surgery

A healthy diet and lifestyle will be essential for weight loss after surgery. Starting to make these changes before the operation can make recovery easier. Eating a calorie controlled diet is especially important in the last few weeks as it can reduce the size of your liver and lower the risk of surgical complications. If you smoke, you should try to give up before the procedure as it could affect your healing.

As it gets closer to the day of your operation, you should:

  • Stock up on healthy foods and freeze some liquid meals for your return home.
  • Arrange at least 2-3 weeks off work and ask for help around the home. You may need assistance with childcare, housework and other everyday tasks.
  • Get your hospital bag ready, with plenty of comfortable clothing, a dressing gown and slippers, your essential toiletries, and some books, magazines or other entertainment to keep you occupied.
  • Make sure you have a comfortable place to rest when you get back. Lots of cushions, plenty of entertainment, and a fan or heater will help.

On the night before surgery, you will need to stop eating and drinking to prevent complications during the procedure.


When you wake up in the recovery room after gastric sleeve surgery, you will probably feel a bit sore and drowsy. Your memory may be a hazy for a while. You will have dressings over the surgical wounds in your abdomen and there may be tubes draining away excess fluid. You might also have a catheter. The nurses will offer you something to drink and monitor your condition as you recover. You should soon be able to get out of bed and move around a little.

You will usually need to spend 2-3 days in hospital for gastric sleeve surgery. You should arrange for someone to pick you up from the hospital as you won’t be able to drive until your surgical wounds have healed.

Recovering from Gastric Sleeve Surgery

You will need plenty of rest when you get home, but you should gradually be able to return to your normal routine over the next 2-3 weeks. However, you should avoid any heavy lifting or very strenuous activities for a couple of months.

The surgical wounds should heal in about a week. The dressings can then come off. You should look out for any signs of complications, such as swelling, pus or inflammation. About 5% of patients will experience some kind of problem after gastric sleeve surgery, but serious complications are rare. You will have follow up appointments to check on your recovery, but you should contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual or you are experiencing severe discomfort.

Eating After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Your doctor will ensure that you have a personalised diet after gastric sleeve surgery. You will be on a liquid-only diet for the first few weeks. You can then begin to introduce some soft, moist foods that will be easy to digest. It will be about 4-6 weeks before you can start eating solids. Certain foods, such as white bread, rice, high fibre vegetables and chewy meat may need to be reintroduced more slowly as they are more difficult to digest.

The sleeve gastrectomy should help you to stick to your diet by restricting the amount you can eat and reducing your appetite. However, you may experience some acid reflux, nausea or vomiting as your body adjusts to the sleeve gastrectomy. You should soon begin to lose weight and notice an improvement in your health, as long as you follow your diet.

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