Pre Op Diet For Gastric Sleeve Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide

pre-op diet for gastric sleeve

Do I have to follow a pre-op diet before the gastric sleeve procedure? What am I allowed and not allowed to eat before my gastric sleeve? What if I cheat on my pre-op VSG diet? Today’s post about the gastric sleeve pre-op diet answers these and other questions in detail.

Choosing to have bariatric surgery is a huge step in becoming a healthier you! This surgery is going to be the beginning of a lifelong journey and will require many dietary adjustments both before and after the surgery. We need to make some important changes as soon as possible to help prepare you for safer surgery and jumpstart your weight loss process.

Do You Have To Do a Pre-Op Diet For Gastric Sleeve (VSG)?

Every surgeon will have different pre-surgery requirements but all of them will include a clear VSG pre-op liquid diet at some point before surgery as well as the “nothing after midnight before your surgery” rule. This is a safety requirement when having surgery under general anesthesia and is needed to prevent aspiration of anything in your stomach, which can cause pneumonia or even death.

Aside from the normal after-midnight fasting before surgery, your surgeon may require you to make some changes to your diet before your gastric sleeve surgery. The exact details of the requirements will vary depending on which type of gastric sleeve surgery you are having (surgical or non-surgical), the state of your overall health, and your surgeon’s professional preferences.

What Pre-Op Diet Should I Follow?

Each surgeon will have their dietary recommendations and general guidelines for their patients, and also specific, individual requests for each patient. The length of the diet and the list of foods/liquids allowed will be based on each patient’s BMI and other determining factors.

Gastric Sleeve Diet Before Surgery to Lower BMI and Post-Operative Risks

Some patients will be on a very strict vertical sleeve gastrectomy pre-op diet before the procedure to further reduce the risks of complications. A recent study revealed that the higher a patient’s body mass index (BMI) is, the higher their chances of post-operative complications are.

However, the study indicated that associated risks increased by approximately 2% for each additional BMI point. In any case, these are important statistics and should motivate patients to work on their BMI to reduce their chances of post-operative complications.

General BMI Guidelines for Pre-Op Bariatric Diet

Since we understand that higher BMIs increase the risk of complications related to surgery, it makes sense that the duration of a pre-operative diet to reduce BMI before surgery should be longer for individuals with a higher BMI, and shorter for those with a lower BMI. 

Pre-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet Duration Chart_Infographic

Shrinking Your Liver Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Another reason is the pre-op diet before gastric sleeve surgery. It must help provide a successful outcome. Your liver sits on top of your stomach and has to be “worked around” during the gastric sleeve surgery.

Often, unhealthy eating causes the liver to be enlarged. It can make it difficult for the surgeon to safely access the stomach. Your pre-surgery diet will help shrink the size of the liver making it more manageable for the surgical team and safer for your surgical outcome.

What Can I Eat the Weeks Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

The exact answer to this question is up to your surgeon. However, for most patients, this means:

  • A very low-calorie diet that is high in protein for a specific amount of weeks before the surgery.

  • A total liquid diet for the last 2 days before the surgery.

  • Nothing at all to eat or drink for the 8 hours before the surgery.

Pre-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet and Allowances per Day_infogprahic

Liquid Diet Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery

If you are given a 2-week “liquid-only” diet before your surgery, you may experience some unpleasant but completely normal symptoms. Your body will get used to the reduction in calories and will adjust to alleviate these symptoms after the first 3 – 4 days. Drinking at least a gallon of approved beverages/liquids a day. It will help keep you hydrated and reduce the severity of these symptoms:

  • Headache.

  • Mood Swings.

  • Fatigue/Weakness.

  • Hunger Pains/Pangs.

  • Stomach upset including nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.

Schedule for Pre-Gastric Sleeve Surgery Dietary Restrictions_Infpgrahpic

What Happens if I Cheat on My Pre-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet?

The pre-op diet is critical for two reasons:

  1. To shrink your liver to prepare for the surgery.

  2. To empty your stomach and intestines of all contents to ensure a safer surgical experience.

The main reason you are asked to follow a specific diet before a surgical procedure. It is to ensure your safety, so you are not doing yourself any favors if you cheat. Not following the required diet may result in negative consequences. The medical team will be monitoring your BMI in the weeks leading up to your surgery so if they are not seeing the required improvements, they may re-schedule your surgery.

If your surgeon begins the laparoscopic gastric sleeve procedure and can not gain access to the stomach due to an enlarged liver. They may stop the surgery and postpone it until a later time. It would be disappointing to have made it that far just to have to repeat the process at a later time.

Will I Continue to Take My Normal Prescribed Medications?

Each patient is unique and has specific health and medication needs so a consultation with your surgeon about medication is critical when discussing pre-operative instructions. Make sure you discuss all the medications you are currently taking with your surgeon. It may be necessary to suspend or modify the medications you are taking (or the dosage) before surgery and possibly even after.

Before surgery, patients should discontinue some over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements as they may encourage bleeding. Ask your surgeon for instructions related to specific medications and supplements.

What If I Can’t Follow the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Pre-op diets begin preparing the patient both physically and mentally. After all the major dietary changes that are necessary for weight loss surgery to be successful. Even though the focus of the pre-op diet is to mitigate surgical risks. It is also the beginning of the dietary commitment you are making. When you decide to have any type of bariatric surgery.

A major change to your diet before and after gastric sleeve surgery. It is not something you can eliminate from the equation. Firstly, commitment is crucial for bariatric surgery to be successful. Secondly, if you can’t stick to a short diet before surgery, can you handle the dietary restrictions after? It is not going to be easy but it is possible. Additionally, others have successfully done it, and you can too!

Furthermore, if you are looking for answers related to bariatric surgery, you are in the right place! Nonetheless, we’re here to help you with weight loss and would love to assist you on your wellness journey. For the same reason contact IBI Healthcare Institute for a consultation today to find out more. Subsequently, the day you have your consultation is one day closer to a healthier you.

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