Following the advice of Dr. Shillingford and the dietician is essential to your progress after surgery. It allows your newly shaped stomach to heal completely and allow the laparoscopic band to remain in the right position.
A small amount of regurgitation is normal at first. In fact, nearly all patients regurgitate at least once in the first weeks. However, frequent vomiting can stretch the new stomach pouch and increase the chance of band slippage. If this is happening you should call Dr. Shillingford.
1-2 Weeks Post-Surgery: Liquid Diet
Your stomach will only tolerate liquids at this time. It’s important to also stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Drinking small amounts frequently may help you avoid vomiting.
Recommended liquids include:
- Clear broth or soup (no vegetables, meat or cream)
- Skim milk
- Fruit juice
- Sugar-free popsicles
3-4 Weeks Post-surgery: Pureed Foods
You can start adding slightly textured foods (the consistency of baby food). You should eat protein-rich foods first, as this helps you maintain muscle while losing weight. Then move on to fruits and vegetables.
Foods may include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Low-fat yogurt or pudding
The goal of the diet for the first 4 weeks after surgery is to eat things that slide through the band and have less chances of getting stuck in the band. This gives the band time to heal in the proper position.
After 4 weeks, the band is now ready to be activated and used. This is done by filling the band for the first time under fluoroscopy/x-ray. The band position is checked and it is adjusted to now start restricting your intake and help decrease your appetite.
4 Weeks Post-surgery: Soft Foods
As you progress to soft foods, remember to do so slowly. If they cause nausea, you may return to the liquid diet and introduce these foods again in a few more days.
Meals may include:
- Tender, cooked fish
- Ground turkey
- Moist pork
Some products like bread, red meat, and rice may cause you problems. If so, stick to softer, more digestible foods.
6 Weeks and Longer: Regular
At this point you should be able to tolerate solid food, although in smaller amounts. Always cut your food into small pieces and chew thoroughly. This helps reduce the chance of vomiting, stomach irritation and swelling. It may also help prevent any obstruction of the stomach opening created by the gastric band.
The adjustable gastric band was designed to restrict solids, not liquids. Drinking liquids during or immediately after meals tends to flush food through the pouch and you will not get the prolonged feeling of satiety needed to help you eat less. A properly adjusted band will not slow the ability to drink liquids nor make you feel much fuller on a liquid diet.
Too much food or big chunks of food can block the band. You can avoid this problem by chewing food well and eating small bits at a time. It is important to remember that your new stomach opening is approximately the size of a dime. Chew your food adequately so that it can easily fit through the opening.
Eat only three small meals a day and make sure that these meals contain adequate nutrients. Stop eating when your hunger is gone or when you feel comfortable.
Vitamins are not required, but taking a daily multivitamin is recommended.