Important Facts About Recovery From Lap Band Surgery
If you’re about to have the Lap Band procedure, you’re probably wondering what your recovery time is going to be like.
- How long before I can go back to work?
- Will I have pain? What food can I eat?
- Will I need help taking care of the kids?
Here are the top three things you need to know about recovering from Lap Band surgery.
#1 – You can return to work more quickly than you think.
If you were looking for an excuse to go on extended leave from work, Lap Band surgery is not the answer (sorry guys). The procedure is minimally invasive and, unlike gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy, doesn’t involve re-routing your digestive system. In fact, many people schedule their surgery at the end of the week so they can be back to work on Monday. For some who prefer to keep their weight loss surgery private, this is a real advantage.
As one of our patients, Amanda, told us about her experience, “It was pretty smooth. I got there by 7 a.m., got home by 1 o’clock and was back to work by Monday and had the procedure on Friday.” She has since lost 100 pounds!
Here’s the rule of thumb. If you have a desk job, plan to return three to five days after surgery. If you do something more strenuous and are physically active or on your feet on the job, give yourself about a week.
#2 – Don’t plan to bust out a new exercise regime the first week.
While you’ll be able to get back to regular activities quickly, it’s important that you give your body time to heal. That means you want to gradually increase your activity. Take a load off and rest for a few days. And, while you will by no means be bed-ridden, it would be a good idea to ask for a little extra help around the house.
During the first seven days, avoid lifting anything that weighs 10 pounds or more. That means grocery bags, the kids, a bowling ball, Fluffy the Cat, a bag of flour, your pet Pekinese or possibly even your briefcase if you carry a laptop along with other items. Also, week one is not the time to do stomach crunches or any other moves involving the abdominal area. And, I’m sorry, no vacuuming either (I know you’re disappointed).
Avoiding these kinds of activities is important so you won’t disturb the small incisions or your new access port that are healing. Typically this isn’t a concern after a week, but let your Lap Band surgeon be your guide on this – as well as your body. If it hurts, don’t do it!
#3 – Give your stomach time to get used to the new set-up.
In the Lap Band procedure, an adjustable gastric band will be placed at the top of your stomach creating a small pouch. This pouch will help you feel more satisfied with less food at mealtime, helping you lose weight. But before you throw that new pouch into action, you’ve got to let it heal and learn how to eat with the Lap Band.
For one to two weeks, you should stick to liquids. Clear broths, skim milk and fruit juice will help you get nutrition, and popsicles are a great way to feel like you’re eating solids even while giving your stomach a rest. After that, in weeks three and four, you’ll move to pureed and soft, mushy foods like canned veggies, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, yogurt and cottage cheese.
At the end of week four, you’ll be ready for more tender solids like fish and ground turkey. Not only will your stomach pouch be ready to handle these foods, but your teeth will be excited to have some action. So put them to work and chew, chew, chew. Chewing your food thoroughly is the key to eating with the Lap Band.
If you feel nauseous after trying any of these stages, your body is telling you that you might not be ready. Go back to soft foods or liquids, then work your way back again.
Bottom line, whether it’s what you eat, what activities you do or how quickly you get back to household and work responsibilities, let your body and the advice of your medical provider be your guides. Recovering from the Lap Band procedure can go smoothly and quickly, but it’s critical that you take care of yourself in those first few days. Then you’ll be on your way to losing those pounds!