Immediately After Your LAP-BAND® Surgery
Take it easy! Your body has to have time to adjust not only to the surgery itself, but to your decreased capacity for food. Immediately following surgery, get plenty of rest but also try to walk around as much as you can tolerate to help speed your recovery. As with any surgery, don’t overdo it, either, and certainly refrain from lifting anything heavy!
Dr. Fore will make sure you have a specific list of post-surgical instructions. It’s very important for you to follow these instructions (including infection prevention measures like not showering the first day or two after surgery). You may also experience a bit of soreness, especially near your access port, which can easily be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications. However, if you experience severe pain, or pain that lasts longer than a few days, please call our office for evaluation.
Complications or Adverse Events
While the LAP-BAND® System has been proven to be safe, all surgical procedures have risks. Please remember that some physical reactions are completely normal such as difficulty taking in liquids, soreness at the incision site or the access port (or both). Don’t hesitate to call our office if you experience anything you think is unusual or severe.
Having said that, please call our office right away if you experience any of the following:
- Sudden shortness of breath or chest pain
- Pain, redness, or swelling in one or both of your legs
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe pain in your belly
- Pain, swelling, or fluid leaking from your incisions
The First Weeks After LAP-BAND® Surgery
The first few weeks after surgery are a transition period to allow your stomach to adjust to the LAP-BAND System. While your body is healing, you may not start losing weight immediately – that’s ok! This is a time for healing, and to focus on specific dietary requirements.
Eating and drinking after the operation
After your surgery, you will need a new diet. Feel free to call our office if you have any questions about the changes in lifestyle and eating habits you need to make.
Note: The following information is meant to be an overview. Dr. Fore may give you specific instructions just for you.
It is very important to follow the eating and drinking instructions right from the start after the operation. That’s because you must allow the new stomach structure to heal completely and in the right position. It may take a month or more for this to happen. It is important, especially in the early weeks, not to stretch the small stomach pouch above the band. Vomiting can do this, so it is important not to vomit. Vomiting can increase the chance of stomach tissue slipping up through the band.
The first few days post-surgery
Right after the operation, you can take an occasional sip of water or suck on an ice cube. You shouldn’t drink more than this. The day after the operation, you can take a little more fluid but only a small amount at a time. Besides water, you should also choose clear liquids that have an adequate number of calories. To prevent nausea and vomiting, do not drink too much.
Liquid Diet (1-2 weeks post-op)
The goal during this early post-operative period is to protect the small stomach pouch. Only thin liquids can be tolerated at this time. It is also important to keep hydrated with lots of water. Other liquids recommended during this phase include:
- Clear broth or soup (with no vegetables or meat and not creamy)
- Skim milk
- Fruit juice
- No-sugar-added popsicles
Pureed foods (3-4 weeks post-op)
During this phase you may start having slightly textured foods. Aim for the consistency of baby foods. This will help you transition to more solid foods later. Because protein is so important to help you maintain muscle while you are losing weight, eat protein-rich foods first, and then move on to fruits and vegetables. Foods in this stage may include:
- Pureed skinless chicken or fish
- Mashed potatoes
- Low-fat yogurt or pudding
In the first few weeks, you may be able to eat foods that might not be allowed in your diet later, as these foods may contain too many calories. It is more important in the first few weeks to let your stomach adjust to the LAP-BAND® System than it is to lose weight. Your timing and progression into each dietary phase may vary. In general, you should follow the advice of Dr. Fore and/or your dietitian about nutrition.
Soft foods (5 weeks post-op)
Your meals can now include tender cooked foods like fish and ground turkey. Now that you can chew, make it a habit to chew foods well. If you have dentures, be sure to cut your food into small pieces and chew it thoroughly. If you don’t follow these precautions, you may experience vomiting, stomach irritation, and swelling. You could also have stoma obstruction. If solid foods cause nausea and vomiting, go back to the liquid diet you had earlier. Then you can slowly add soft foods and eventually transition to solid foods. Always ask for advice from your doctor or dietitian that is specific to your situation. Vomiting may increase the incidence of band slippage, stomach slippage, or stretching of the small stomach pouch above the band.
Other important things you can do
- Keep your follow up appointment! This is critically important to ensure your recovery is going well and to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with Dr. Fore.
- Begin exercising. After your follow up important, with Dr. Fore’s approval, you can start becoming physically active, slowly at first, while gradually increasing as your body fully recovers.
- Return to work. Returning to your normal routine is important to your well being! Depending on Dr. Fore’s advice, you should be able to return to work in about a week. If you have a more physically active job, you may require a bit more time.