Bariatric surgery procedures provide weight loss basically by limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold, creating malabsorption of nutrients, or by doing a combination of both. They also cause hormonal changes. Although the open surgeries are still performed, most weight loss surgeries today are performed using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) techniques. The most common bariatric surgery procedures are gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and adjustable gastric band. In this article, we will focus on gastric sleeve (or sleeve gastrectomy) surgery which becomes a great solution to the issue of obesity which spreads rapidly across the globe. While we will describe in detail the surgery and potential patient profile, also mention its pros and cons.
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
A gastric sleeve surgery is a medical procedure in which the surgeons remove part of the stomach and join the remaining parts together to make a new stomach seems like a banana or basically a "sleeve". Patients have about 1/10th the size of their original stomach after the surgery, and they feel satiated much quicker than they did before, which help them lose weight. Moreover, as the part removed by the surgeon also makes a hormone that boosts the appetite, this will also be eliminated through this procedure.
Apart from the fact that with gastric sleeve, weight loss is substantial and for good, it gained popularity among specialists due to its simplicity. Gastric sleeve results are achieved without removing parts of intestines and do not require two procedures, just one 2-hour-long operation.
Since United Healthcare is added gastric sleeve surgery to their list of covered surgeries on January 1st, 2010, this procedure becomes the fastest growing bariatric surgery procedure in the United States.
Who Can Get a Gastric Sleeve?
While it’s a good method of losing weight, gastric sleeve surgery is still a major surgical procedure. For this reason, doctors do not readily accept candidates for it. If you just struggle with some extra kilos, no specialist will accept your request. Similarly, being simply overweight will not do. Gastric sleeve results are impressive, but the gastric sleeve diet may affect your lifestyle in a quite serious way. Therefore, you need to be morbidly obese and have BMI of over 40 to get it. Some patients with BMI of over 35 also are eligible if they suffer from some additional medical issues caused by their weight.
Qualifying or being approved for surgery or being a good candidate for a procedure are very different things. Qualifying is the first step for becoming a candidate, but that does not mean surgery is totally appropriate for you. To ascertain if you are a good candidate for this procedure, you will need to talk to a bariatric surgeon beside being aware of the all risks, outcomes and life changes which you should do.
Is It the Right Weight Loss Method for You?
Nowadays, it seems to be a consensus that gastric sleeve results are better than those of other major techniques. After gastric bypass surgery, there is a larger risk of ‘dumping syndrome’, which means a strong body reaction caused by the rapid movement of food from the stomach to intestines. About 85% of gastric bypass patients experience dumping syndrome at some point after surgery. The symptoms of this syndrome can range from mild to severe depends on the patients. As for the gastric band, it requires more drastic lifestyle changes in order to be effective, not to mention that the band is made from materials foreign to the body.
Gastric sleeve results are comparable to these methods (the loss of 60-80% of extra kilos within one year) while does not involve many side effects associated with them. When we compare the cost, we see that the gastric sleeve can be performed with little more affordable prices. For example, in the USA, a gastric sleeve surgery cost may be around $15,000, while gastric bypass as a more invasive procedure, costs around $20,000. Still, you may find more affordable gastric sleeve surgery price options in successful clinics delivering the highest standard of care in Turkey, Poland or India.
Before Gastric Sleeve
You will have a diet to follow for approximately 2 weeks before the surgery itself. Moreover, you shall avoid alcohol and cigarettes since they may affect the outcome and healing process. Two days prior to surgery, you need to start to a clear liquid diet which includes no-sugar protein shake daily, in addition to broth, water, decaffeinated coffee or tea, and sugar-free popsicles. You need to avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages at this stage.
After Gastric Sleeve – Dietary Adjustments
The first day after surgery, you'll only drink liquids. By the time you leave the hospital, usually after 2 or 3 days of hospital stay, you can eat pureed foods, and protein shakes for about 4 weeks. After the gastric sleeve surgery, you need to change the eating habit forever.
After that first 4 weeks, you'll be able to eat soft solid foods by chewing well and very slowly. You shouldn't drink while you eat, as this may bother your new stomach. You also need to avoid high-calorie sodas and snacks. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements every day is another important requirement you should follow well. 2 or 3 months after your surgery, you can start to eat regular meals by without eating as much as you did before the surgery.
Long-Term Benefits of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Reviews of gastric surgery results present us with an average of 60-80% of extra weight loss in the first year. This procedure, unlike others, is permanent and may not be reversed, hence resulting in permanent and astonishing weight loss. Besides, studies have shown that all weight loss surgeries are associated with fewer cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, and it has even been suggested that the procedure is connected to improved sex drive in patients.
Before and after photos also proves the effectiveness of the surgery. Success stories are everywhere online, proving that this method is indeed the future of bariatric surgery. You just need to learn what you shall eat in order to receive enough nutrients and vitamins.
Risks and Complications
Short term risks and complications after gastric sleeve surgery may include suture line disruption, blood clots, bleeding, nausea, vomiting and infection of the surgical site. You may also experience these risks and complications as long term after gastric sleeve surgery: Strictures, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), vitamin and mineral deficiency, gallstones and sagging skin.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.