LAP-BAND® Surgery Recovery Diet
In the first few weeks after LAP-BAND® surgery, you will not be able to eat much of anything. It will take time for your body to heal and for you to get used to eating with the band in place.
During the recovery period, your surgeon will place you on a post-surgery diet that slowly progresses from liquids to pureed and soft foods before you resume eating solid foods.
The purpose of the post-op recovery diet is to:
- ease the healing process
- ensure adequate nourishment
- minimize the risk of complications
Your surgeon will monitor your healing process, which can take from 4 to 8 weeks.
Specific instructions can vary by surgeon and patient factors, so it is important to follow the post-op dietary recommendations given to you by your surgeon.
The following items are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines that LAP-BAND® patients may encounter.
Post-Op Diet Progression
As you recover from surgery, your diet will gradually advance through several stages:
- clear liquids - full liquids - pureed foods - soft foods - solid foods
The rate at which you progress through the recovery diet will generally depend on how quickly your body heals from surgery and how well you tolerate adding foods to your meals.
Expect to progress slowly through the post-op diet stages as advised by your LAP-BAND® surgeon.
Weeks 1 - 2
The first week or two after surgery you will be on a full liquid diet. This is to keep the stomach from working too hard and to decrease pressure on the band while the body heals.
The first couple of days will be limited to clear liquids, such as diluted apple juice, chicken broth, beef broth, sugar-free gelatin, and artificially-sweetened non-carbonated beverages.
Once you are able to handle clear liquids, full liquids will be added to your diet. Full liquids include cream broth and soups, protein shakes, milk, yogurt, and sugar-free puddings.
Weeks 3 - 4
After a couple of weeks, your diet will progress to pureed foods. It is important that you proceed slowly to see what your body will allow. Keep your meals small and focus on high-protein foods. Gradually you will be able to add soft foods such as oatmeal and eggs.
After 4 - 8 weeks
Depending on how your body is responding and healing, you will be able to resume eating regular foods about 4 to 8 weeks after surgery.
After surgery, you will need to change the way you eat and drink. As you heal, it will be important to consume small portions, avoid getting overfull, and sip fluids slowly.
How to eat during recovery:
- Schedule 3 nutrient-dense meals and 1 high-protein snack each day.
- Keep meals small (1/4 to 1/2 cup).
- Stop eating when you feel full.
- Eat slowly (it may take 30 to 60 minutes per meal).
- Chew food until it has the consistency of mush (about 15-20 chews per bite).
- Avoid drinking with meals (from 15 minutes before to 45 minutes after a meal).
You want to avoid overeating or consuming solid foods during the healing process to allow the band to settle into position. If you put too much strain on your band, it cause an obstruction at the narrow opening, lead to an enlargement of the stomach above the band, and induce vomiting which will move the band from its position (known as a slip).
The LAP-BAND® post-op recovery diet will be limited to liquids and soft food items. It will be helpful to stock up on these food items (and other items suggested by your surgeon) before surgery so that you have them available when you return home after the procedure.
What to eat during recovery:
- Focus on low-fat, soft blended/pureed) high-protein food sources.
- Supplement with soft blended/pureed) fruits and vegetables.
Diet suggestions include: tea; non-acidic juices (apple, cranberry, grape); broth (beef, chicken, vegetable); sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages and sport drinks; sugar-free gelatin and pudding; low-fat cream soups; skim milk; low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese; Greek yogurt; cream of wheat; oatmeal; eggs; pureed chicken; mashed tuna/moist fish; unsweetened apple sauce; mashed bananas; and pureed baby food.
Although the texture of your foods at this time is soft, you can use seasonings, herbs, and spices as much as you can tolerate to make meals flavorable and more enjoyable.
In addition to food and beverages, other dietary items that assist with recovery include protein supplements (pre-mixed or powders), chewable calcium (Tums), and chewable multivitamins.
Protein supplements are a vital part of the post-op recovery diet to ensure adequate protein intake. Since it will be difficult to get sufficient protein from the diet in the first month after surgery, protein supplements are recommended.
Protein is necessary for the body to recover and function properly, especially during the healing process. It is also the food group that promotes the greatest sense of fullness or satiety. Since the body does not store protein, it must be replenished daily.
Staying hydrated in important. Make sure you drink plenty of water or other sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages to avoid dehydration, about 64 ounces of fluids each day.
Sip on liquids throughout the day, but stop drinking within 15 minutes before and 45 minutes after a meal. You want to avoid mixing liquids and solid foods.
Drinking liquids too near a meal should be avoided for a couple of reasons: the stomach is so small, eating and drinking at the same time may lead to discomfort and vomiting; just a few sips of a beverage could move food through the stomach too quickly and defeat the purpose of the band, which is to slow digestion and prolong sense of fullness or satiety.
Do not drink too quickly. Try to sip on liquids at a rate of 1 ounce per 20 minutes, or 3 ounces per hour.
Avoid drinking with a straw as it may cause gas and discomfort. Excess air can get sucked into the stomach and become trapped in air bubbles.
Follow Doctors Orders
The post-op recovery diet for LAP-BAND® surgery is designed to reduce complications and ease recovery while providing the body with the nutrients it needs to heal and function.
For the best outcomes, make sure you follow your surgeon's instructions regarding food choices and eating behaviors during the healing period after LAP-BAND® surgery.