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All you need to know about a gastric sleeve

What is a gastric sleeve?

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) estimates that around 228,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2017 (latest available data).

 

Gastric sleeve surgery was the most common procedure worldwide and in the United States, the latter accounting for 58.1 % of all bariatric operations.

 

The Gastric Sleeve Surgery, also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a non-reversible bariatric procedure that removes about 75-80% of your stomach.

 

Removing part of the stomach decreases the body’s level of a hormone called ghrelin, the “hunger hormone, and their insulin resistance gets better. In turn, you will eat less, feel full sooner, and be less hungry.

What are the benefits of a gastric sleeve?

Gastric sleeve surgery has many benefits that include:

 

  • Improved quality of life

  • Remission of obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes type II, hypertension, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, and joint pain.

  • Reduced weight of about 60-75%

  • Decreased hunger sensation

  • Reduction in hunger sensation

Who is an ideal candidate for a gastric sleeve?

First and foremost, you need to be committed to a long-term change in eating and exercise habits.

 

Ideal candidates for gastric sleeve surgery:

 

  • Are healthy enough to handle surgery

  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more and a health-related medical condition like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or sleep apnea, or are 100 or more pounds over their ideal body weight

  • Have emotional and practical support from their family members or peers

 

Doctors will give you anesthesia so you sleep through the surgery. After you're asleep, the surgeon will take out three-quarters of your stomach. Your smaller banana-shaped stomach is called the gastric sleeve.

 

You'll probably stay in the hospital for a couple of nights so doctors and nurses can keep an eye on your recovery. They will give you medicine for pain or nausea (feeling sick), help you to get up and move around, and make sure you can drink liquids without throwing up.

What are the possible risks of a gastric sleeve?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a major operation and carries some potential risks that include:

 

  • Blood clots

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

  • Infection

  • Leaking of stomach contents (occurs about 0.75% or the time)

  • Bleeding

  • Anesthesia issues

  • Weight regaining

 

If performed by a board-certified and experienced bariatric surgeon, these problems are rare and major complications occur less than 1% of the time.

How is a gastric sleeve surgery like?

The surgery involves making five or six small incisions in the abdomen and performing the procedure using a video camera (laparoscope) and long instruments that are placed through these small incisions.

 

The operation removes about 2/3 of your stomach about 75% of your stomach, leaving a narrow gastric “tube” or “sleeve”.

 

Note that no intestines are removed or bypassed during the sleeve gastrectomy. The procedure takes one to two hours.

What should I expect after a gastric sleeve?

You should expect up to three days of hospitalization and substantial recovery progress in a week. However, it will take several weeks before you can eat regular food again.

 

Gastric sleeve surgery is a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. Following surgery, your care team will help you develop a four-phase, post-gastric sleeve surgery diet.

 

To ease into having a much smaller stomach, your nutritionists will recommend you to follow a liquid-only diet that gradually improves to solid foods in about a month.

 

Mineral and vitamin supplementation is also part of your diet.

What should I expect in a gastric sleeve recovery?

You may experience some changes as your body gets used to the diet and weight loss. These changes include body aches, dry skin, feeling tired, hair thinning/hair loss, and mood changes.

 

Your nutritionists will suggest the following:

 

  • Chew everything thoroughly before swallowing

  • No liquids while eating as this might cause your new stomach to overfill

  • Drink liquids a half-hour after finishing a meal.

  • Maintain a healthy diet

 

You should expect to recover in a month as you move from liquid-only to solid foods.

 

Most patients return back to work and exercise within a month. However, you should discuss this with your healthcare provider.

How much weight will I lose after a gastric sleeve?

The average timeline of weight loss following gastric sleeve surgery is:

 

  • The first 2 weeks: 10-20 pounds; most patients lose about one pound a day

  • The first 3 months: 35-45% of excess weight loss

  • The first 6 months: 50-60% of excess weight loss

  • The first year: 60-70% of excess weight loss

 

Most people reach their lowest weight 12-24 months after surgery

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