For patients who have struggled with weight loss, there are several different types of bariatric surgery that seek to provide another option. One of these methods of weight loss surgery is gastric stapling. To learn more about weight loss surgery, contact our office today.
The gastric stapling procedure is a type of bariatric surgery in which a surgeon uses staples to separate the patient’s stomach into two parts. The digestive system is left fully intact and no parts of the body are removed or rerouted. Of the two parts created in the stomach, one is very small and can hold about one ounce of chewed food or liquid beverages. When the patient eats, the little pouch fills up quickly and triggers a message to the person’s brain to stop eating. The food that is in the little pouch empties into the larger pouch where it is digested as it would be under normal circumstances. This type of gastric stapling surgery is done on patients who have tried and failed with traditional means, such as dieting and exercise to lose excess weight.
Reasons Why a Gastric Stapling Procedure Is Performed
A gastric stapling procedure is usually performed only on patients who are morbidly obese. Morbid obesity means that the person has a body mass index (BMI) that is greater than 40. When a patient’s BMI is higher than 40, he or she has a significantly increased risk of developing serious medical conditions such as diabetes, heart attack ,or a stroke.
Some physicians may recommend the procedure to patients who have a BMI of 35 to 39 if they also have a concurrent medical problem such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or debilitating arthritis. The gastric stapling procedure is reserved for patients who have tried most other methods of losing weight and have not succeeded with their weight loss goals. The goal of the procedure is to help a patient potentially lose excess weight so that they can enjoy a higher quality of life and a lower risk of chronic medical problems. The procedure can initiate a rapid weight loss which then makes it easier for the patient to start a light to moderate routine of physical activity, which will allow the weight loss to continue at a moderate pace after the initial period of weight loss is complete after surgery.
The exact results vary from one patient to the next, and depend on many factors, including your current weight, medical history, and lifestyle. Your doctor will talk with you about the procedure and what you can realistically expect in terms of results.
How a Gastric Stapling Procedure Works
To perform the gastric stapling procedure, the surgeon places medical grade surgical steel staples across one portion of the stomach. This restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. The gastric stapling surgery is also referred to as a restrictive or restriction bariatric surgery. The patient can eat about one half of a cup of food at a time, although this can expand to up to three quarters of a cup of food a few months after the procedure.
In most cases, the surgery is performed with laparoscopic techniques. This allows the surgeon to make just a small incision and then perform the surgery with the aid of a small camera that is attached to a thin, flexible tube. The surgeon and medical care team can visualize the surgical techniques by looking at monitors in the operating room. The patient receives general anesthesia and the procedure usually takes about two to three hours. Most patients will be in the hospital for about three days following the gastric stapling surgery. Each patient is different, and your doctor will give you an idea of what you can expect.
Ways Patients Can Prepare for Gastric Stapling
To prepare for gastric stapling, most patients meet with the surgeon to learn about the procedure and sign consent forms. The patient may be given specific instructions to begin following about four weeks before the procedure. These instructions often include requirements to halt the use of alcohol, tobacco, and certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can interfere with surgery and healing.
The patient may also begin nutritional counseling at this time so that they can begin changing their dietary habits. Patients may be advised to start a light exercise routine, such as walking for 10 minutes at a time at a slow to moderate pace. These activities can help the patient to prepare for healing and recovery as well as the lifestyle changes that will be necessary to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight after the surgery.
The ways that each patient need to prepare are varied, and your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow prior to your procedure.
What Patients Should Expect After a Gastric Stapling Procedure
Immediately following the gastric stapling procedure, patients will be monitored to make sure that they recover well from the general anesthesia. Once the patient’s vital signs are good, he or she will be moved to a different room. While in the hospital, the patient will receive intravenous fluids and a liquid diet. The patient may receive some pain medication. Nurses will check the incision site to ensure it is staying closed and beginning to heal.
For the first few weeks after gastric stapling, patients eat a soft foods diet consisting of foods such as applesauce, yogurt, pudding, and broth. About four to six weeks after the surgery, most patients are able to begin eating small amounts of solid foods. Patients may also need to take vitamin supplements in order to avoid malnutrition. Once the incision is healed, most patients can begin exercising under the guidance of their physicians and with a personal trainer.
The diet that you need to follow and the exercise that you should stick to will depend on your unique situation. You will work with your doctor to be sure that you are following the best direction for your health.