After your LINX esophageal surgery, you can expect some difficulty swallowing. If food sticks when you eat, it is called “dysphagia.” This is due to swelling around your surgery site and will most likely resolve in a few days. It is normal to feel “tight” for up to one week, but you should be able to advance your diet directly after your surgery. Please continue to eat foods slowly to open and close the surgical site.
In general, some simple rules to follow are:
- Maintain an upright position (as near 90 degrees as possible) whenever eating or drinking.
- Take small bites, only ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time at first.
- Eat slowly. It may also help to eat only one food at a time.
- Avoid talking while eating.
- Do not mix solid foods and liquids in the same mouthful and do not “wash foods down” with liquids, unless you have been instructed to do so by your surgeon. If you do feel that your meal is a bit “sticky,” a small amount of warm liquid may help, but avoid drinking too much, or you may feel uncomfortable.
- Eat in a relaxed atmosphere, with no distractions.
- Following each meal, sit in an upright position (90-degree angle) for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Avoid carbonated (bubbly) drinks — they will make you feel bloated.
- If food does stick, don’t panic. Try to relax and let the food pass on its own. Sipping strong, hot black tea or warm broth can also help.
It is important to avoid dehydration, so drink lots of fluids, at least 64 oz. of liquids daily. Cold beverages may cause painful esophageal spasms; room temperature or warmer liquids are often easier to drink. A daily multivitamin is also recommended. Most people will lose 5 – 10 pounds after surgery, depending on what they choose to eat.
This information has been approved by Emily Speer, MD (January 2017).