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Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time

What to Expect After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Posted on 20 Jan, 2021

The gastric sleeve recovery time period is a key consideration for those who are considering undergoing the weight loss procedure. One of the most common, effective and trusted obesity surgeries available to candidates in Australia, gastric sleeve surgery, is known to offer a relatively quick turn around and rapid recovery period. 

If you're considering undergoing a gastric sleeve by a bariatric surgeon, it's completely natural to want to know what to expect after gastric sleeve surgery. And if you've done any research on the procedure, you would know that successful weight loss and gastric sleeve procedures come down to more than just going under the knife. 

The effectiveness and long-term success of gastric sleeve surgery are entirely contingent on the aftermath of the procedure. Central Coast Surgery are here to explain what to expect after gastric sleeve surgery. This article will detail the ins and outs of your gastric sleeve recovery period from the immediate aftermath of the procedure to the long-term recovery time. The leading experts in gastric sleeve Newcastle and Central Coast procedures, CCS have outlined the various stages of gastric sleeve recovery: 


Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time

So, how long is recovery from gastric sleeve? 

Estimated gastric sleeve recovery time is typically up to 2-3 weeks; however, every patient's experience varies after the procedure. The recovery period that you can expect after a gastric sleeve will depend on your body, lifestyle, complications during or after bariatric surgery, and any predispositions to illness. 

In terms of gastric sleeve recovery time, on average, Central Coast Surgery patients typically take 2-3 weeks for the incisions to heal and 6-8 weeks for the stomach staple line to heal. As we perform gastric sleeve surgery laparoscopically, the procedure is minimally invasive and does not fall under major abdominal surgery. Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery recovery time is significantly shorter than major abdominal weight loss surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time Infographic



Immediately After the Surgery

Gastric sleeve is typically performed laparoscopically, and will only take 1-2 hours to complete, under general anaesthetic. When you wake up after the bariatric surgery, you will be in the hospital, either in the recovery room or back in your dedicated hospital bed for the day. Your doctor will have already administered pain medication, to ensure that you're not experiencing severe pain immediately following the surgery. 

As the incisions made during surgery will only be small, you'll feel uncomfortable, but you'll soon be able to walk around with a little bit of support. Walking and moving around after your surgery is incredibly important – moving increases blood flow and helps prevent blood clots, pneumonia and constipation. 

During the immediate gastric sleeve recovery process, you'll be under constant supervision during this period and will have your blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and general vital signs monitored. This is to ensure a smooth gastric sleeve recovery with no risk of complication. 


24 Hours After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Following your procedure, you'll begin to feel general abdominal pain and discomfort. The anaesthesia will have worn off, and you'll likely be moving around a bit more. As gastric sleeve surgery limits the amount of food your stomach can hold, you'll be on a strict clear liquid diet. The incisions on your abdomen may be tender or sore, and you will not be able to lift any heavy objects or undergo any movements that strain the abdominal muscles. 

The day after gastric sleeve surgery, your doctor will discuss the best way to tackle recovery from home for the next couple of weeks after you've been discharged. Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery means that you'll have the ability to walk, move around freely and drink liquids on your own. Most sleeve gastrectomy patients will generally be able to leave hospital facilities after 1-2 days of rest. 


2 Weeks Post Surgery

Two weeks into your gastric sleeve recovery period, you'll begin feeling a little bit more normal. Your stomach may still be slightly swollen and sore, but you should be capable of undertaking normal daily activities (apart from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise). 

The two-week gastric sleeve recovery time is often when people feel they are ready to go back to work; however, many also find that they are still too tired and sore to get back to their jobs at this point. As your body adjusts to new food and lifestyle regimens, it's essential to be patient and make decisions based on what you are capable of at that stage. 

Regarding diet during gastric sleeve recovery, it's vital that you stick to your surgeon's recommendations to ensure a healthy digestive system. For the first couple of weeks, you'll be on a strict liquid diet. By week 2, you may be able to introduce thicker liquids or soft foods slowly. You may or may not be experiencing hunger at this point – the ghrelin hormone is typically removed during bariatric surgery. 


What Can Impact Gastric Sleeve Recovery Infographic


6 Weeks Post Surgery

Almost two months post sleeve gastrectomy, you're well and truly in the midst of gastric sleeve recovery time at the 6-week mark. This gastric sleeve recovery period will focus primarily on a diet, as most of your incisions and stomach staples will be healed, or almost healed. 

Six weeks after your gastric sleeve, you should feel little to no pain from the procedure. Some patients with pre-existing gallbladder stones may experience gallbladder symptoms; however, if you're experiencing pain six weeks after surgery, then you should make an appointment to see your bariatric surgeon. 

Your recovery six weeks after gastric sleeve surgery will also primarily revolve around a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle behaviours. Getting used to your stomach's new size means making healthy lifestyle choices, eating small portions, and consuming food and beverages that are gentle on the stomach. From this point in your gastric sleeve recovery period, you should be gently exercising and taking the steps to implement a long-term, healthy, balanced lifestyle.


How Long Does It Take for Stomach to Heal After Gastric Sleeve?

After a gastric sleeve procedure, your exterior incisions will take just a couple of weeks to heal. Within three weeks, you should start to feel less tired and will be able to continue a relatively normal routine. However, your stomach will undergo a healing process for about 6-8 weeks after gastric sleeve surgery. Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery recovery time may be relatively fast, however; the stomach staple line takes longer to heal internally, as the stomach's size has been considerably shrunk and readjusted. 


How Long Are You in Hospital After Gastric Sleeve?

Sleeve gastrectomy procedure is a relatively quick bariatric surgery and will be completed in just a couple of hours. Most of our gastric sleeve patients will be discharged after 2-3 days following the procedure. Immediately following gastric sleeve surgery, patients will be closely monitored to ensure there are no postoperative complications. 


What to expect after gastric sleeve infographi


Can Your Stomach Go Back to Normal After Gastric Sleeve?

As your stomach will be considerably smaller after gastric sleeve surgery, it will generally only be able to hold a small amount of food before feeling full. However, it is possible for the stomach to stretch over time if the patient continuously over-eats and stretches the stomach sleeve during the gastric sleeve recovery period.

The stomach muscle is designed to stretch to accommodate for entering food. When the stomach reaches capacity, it feels full, alerting the body to stop eating. When you overeat, the stomach stretches, even more, to accommodate for the extra food. If this only happens now and then, the stomach will simply shrink back to the small sleeve size. However, if the patient continues to over-eat, their stomach will go back to stretching, and the gastric sleeve surgery will be ineffectual. 


Can You Ever Eat Normal After Gastric Sleeve?

After six weeks, you will be able to consume normal, solid foods. The normal gastric sleeve diet includes a variety of textured food, limiting the amount of unhealthy food you consume. Gastric sleeve patients should aim for three healthy, balanced meals each day. Gastric sleeve recovery time and diet are influenced by the types of food consumed – patients need to stick to their gastric sleeve diet appointed by their weight loss surgery clinic for the best results and healthy recovery process. 


Contact Central Coast Surgery Today

To find out more about what to expect after gastric sleeve surgery and the details around gastric sleeve recovery time, get in touch with Central Coast Surgery to speak to one of our clinicians. The leading clinic providing gastric sleeve Newcastle, Central Coast and NSW surgery, CCS helps those suffering from obesity turn their lives around with sleeve gastrectomy. 

Backed by a team of psychologists, dieticians, bariatric surgeons and physicians, Central Coast Surgery are the experts in weight loss surgery. Dr Ken Wong has been performing gastric sleeve procedures for many years, building a reputation for one of Australia's most experienced, qualified and advanced bariatric surgeons. If you're considering gastric sleeve surgery to maximise your weight loss, you can learn more about our weight loss procedures and clinic by calling us on (02) 4323 7000 for an initial consultation.