Sleeve gastrectomy, or the gastric sleeve procedure, is one of several procedures that are commonly used for weight loss. The gastric sleeve is generally used on individuals who have a BMI of at least 40. Individuals with a lower BMI may qualify for this gastric procedure if they have other health conditions that indicate it is an appropriate choice. Patients who have this procedure typically lose between 50 and 80 percent of their excess weight following surgery, but these results can vary.
Your doctor will provide you with a better idea of the results that you could expect, based on your current weight and health.
The gastric sleeve procedure is typically performed laparoscopically. The surgeon makes a series of small incisions, between 1/4 and 1/2 inches long. Approximately 75 percent of the stomach is removed through the incisions, leaving behind a stomach in the shape of a tube or sleeve. This procedure can lead to weight loss by restricting food intake. The stomach is smaller, so it fills up with less food. It also decreases appetite by lowering the amount of ghrelin in your system. Ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, triggers feelings of hunger in the body, and is manufactured in the stomach. By reducing the size of the stomach, the amount of ghrelin in the body is also reduced.
Benefits of This Type of Surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery does not implant any foreign materials into the body, making it different from adjustable gastric band surgery. It is also different than gastric bypass surgery in that there is no rearrangement of the intestinal organs with this type of surgery. The stomach is smaller, but otherwise change is minimal, and after a period of time for recovery, most patients go on to eat a wide range of foods, including fibrous vegetables and meats.
Another benefit of gastric sleeve surgery is the recovery time. Since laparoscopic surgery is used, the hospitalization and healing time is minimal. While you will need to take it easy for a few weeks, you can generally return to your daily activities within the week. This is much more advanced when compared to traditional surgery, which requires long recovery times and often increased pain.
Benefits Of Weight Loss
For individuals who are obese, gastric sleeve surgery can dramatically increase quality of life. As excess weight is shed, people who undergo this procedure often find their mood improves, they have more energy, and lead a more active lifestyle. In addition, weight loss can help manage a variety of health conditions that may have been considered chronic. The dramatic weight loss associated with gastric sleeve surgery may improve blood sugar levels, lower high blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, and even help to improve symptoms of sleep apnea.
Of all the health benefits seen by gastric sleeve surgery, the improvements for patients with type 2 diabetes are the most interesting. Many individuals with type 2 diabetes can immediately decrease their diabetes medications after surgery. This change often occurs before any substantial weight loss is noted. This is considered to be due to the fact that ghrelin affects the metabolism of blood sugar. The decrease in ghrelin in the body leads many type 2 diabetics to be able to reduce their medications.
What To Expect
The gastric sleeve procedure takes approximately one hour to complete. After the surgery, expect to stay in the hospital for two to three days. It may be up to four weeks before you feel totally recovered. Your doctor will tell you what to expect in terms of weight loss and time frames for your results. You can improve your healing time after surgery by trying to lose some weight ahead of time, beginning a gentle exercise program, and ceasing smoking.
Your doctor will provide you with other ways that you can improve your healing following surgery.
Diet After Surgery
The rapid weight loss associated with gastric sleeve surgery will lead to almost immediate and noticeable improvements in health. These improvements, coupled with the increased feeling of wellbeing from the weight loss, makes sticking to the modified diet required when healing from the procedure easier for many patients. Motivation is high during this time, as you shed weight quickly and feel more energetic than you probably have in years.
From the day after surgery until four weeks post-surgery, your diet will include foods that have a pureed consistency. This allows your stomach time to heal. After four weeks, you will begin adding in semi-solid foods, and then low-fat solid foods. With time, you will be able to return to a normal eating pattern. Adhering to the post-surgery recommendations for food intake, consistency, and amounts will provide the best long term results after your procedure.
It is very important to follow your doctor’s guidelines for eating after the surgery. These guidelines can be slightly different for each patient. These instructions are designed to not only give you the push you need to get the most out of your procedure, but also to help you stay safe and recovery smoothly.
Gastric sleeve surgery can provide an effective way to lose the excess weight that is affecting your health and reducing your quality of life. While it is often performed as a stand-alone surgery, it can also be used as a first step in a two-step procedure for individuals with a great deal of weight to lose. For individuals who are extremely obese, or with health conditions that make them ineligible for gastric bypass, the gastric sleeve can get their BMI low enough, and improve their health enough, that they can have the second procedure to reach their goal weight.
To learn more about this particular type of weight loss surgery, or to learn about other variations of weight loss procedures, contact our office today and schedule a consultation. We can work with you to determine the best approach for weight loss based on many factors, including your current weight, family history, health history, lifestyle, goals, and more.