The postoperative period of obesity surgery is crucial for both recovery and the success of the surgery. During this period, it is essential to follow the instructions and recommendations given by the doctor and adhere to the prescribed exercise and diet plan.
Recovery After Obesity Surgery
Obesity surgery encompasses different options, with some procedures involving only the stomach, while others may also include the intestines, gallbladder, and ducts. Therefore, there are some variations in the recovery process for each procedure, but there are also general similarities.
In most cases, minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy) is preferred, leading to a shorter recovery time due to smaller incisions. Here are some details of the recovery process:
Patients typically stay in the hospital for 2-4 days after surgery. Resting and light walks are important in the first few days after discharge. Any side effects related to nutrition during this period are normal and temporary. After the first week, patients can move around comfortably at home without overexerting themselves and gradually return to their routines. Incisions are fully healed after the first 2 weeks, marking significant progress in the recovery process. Complete recovery usually takes 4-6 weeks. During this time, patients can start exercising, but it’s important to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities.
Individual variations in the recovery process are normal.
Nutrition After Obesity Surgery
Nutrition is one of the most critical aspects of the post-obesity surgery period. After the changes in the digestive system, patients will need approximately 2-3 months to return to normal eating patterns, following a gradual diet plan.
- Clear Liquid Diet
In the first days after surgery, patients are required to consume clear liquids in the hospital. This provides essential fluids and electrolytes while supplying minimal energy. Permitted liquids during this period include:
Clear tea Freshly squeezed and diluted fruit juices (excluding citrus) Unsweetened and pulp-free fruit compote During this phase, it is important to consume liquids very slowly, with 3 tablespoons of liquid taking 15 minutes to drink.
- Full Liquid Diet
After spending 2-3 days in the hospital consuming clear liquids, patients transition to a full liquid diet after discharge. This diet typically lasts for about 2 weeks and differs from the clear liquid diet in that it includes liquids with higher fiber content. Some permissible foods during the full liquid diet include:
Linden tea Chamomile tea Unsweetened and fat-free soups Fat-free chicken or beef broth Fat-free cheese (can be consumed starting from the 2nd week post-surgery and should be thoroughly chewed) Lactose-free and fat-free buttermilk Lactose-free and fat-free milk Rice milk Almond milk Kefir
Certain liquids like those containing caffeine, citrus juices, and packaged powdered soups are prohibited during this phase.
- Pureed Diet
The pureed diet is introduced between the 3rd and 4th weeks after surgery. The foods consumed during this period significantly meet the nutritional and energy needs of patients. Foods should be pureed and have a smooth texture. In this phase, patients can consume foods such as:
Pureed vegetables Pureed fruits Fish puree Mashed potatoes
It is crucial that the foods chosen for pureeing are non-gassy and easily digestible.
- Soft-Solid Diet
After the pureed diet, patients can begin to consume textured purees or soft solid foods. This diet is implemented between the 5th and 8th weeks after surgery, completing the second month post-surgery. Some foods that can be consumed during this phase include:
Fish Lean poultry Lean red meat Non-fibrous fruits Non-gassy and well-cooked vegetables
- Regular Diet
After the initial 2-month period, patients can gradually transition back to a regular diet. It’s important to remember that this process may vary from person to person.
Weight Loss After Obesity Surgery
Weight loss after obesity surgery is closely linked to diet and exercise. When patients follow their doctor’s instructions and adhere to diet and exercise programs, they can lose weight rapidly.
Patients typically lose around 30% to 50% of their excess weight following obesity surgery. The rate of weight loss varies based on the patient’s initial weight and their compliance with medical instructions.