You may have heard about bariatric surgery, which is sometimes recommended for obese patients. The handful of surgeries currently available is particularly prescribed for overweight patients with weight-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
There is one weight loss surgery that is taking the world by storm. Gastric sleeve surgery has quickly become the most popular bariatric surgery worldwide. This surgery is effective at treating obesity and weight-related ailments. The risks are low, the chance of keeping the weight off long-term is high, and the surgery is highly recommended if you have tried other ways to lose weight and nothing has worked.
The following article will tell you all you need to know about this amazing weight loss procedure. To qualify for gastric sleeve surgery, you must be physically and mentally able to have surgery. You should be ready to follow your doctor’s instructions after surgery with regard to how to eat, how to be physically active, and when to arrive at your doctor’s office for follow-up tests.
Does that describe you? If so, you’ll want to read to the end, where you are sure to be excited about what gastric sleeve surgery can do for you.
How is Gastric Sleeve Surgery Unique Compared to Other Bariatric Procedures?
Bariatric surgery is becoming more popular since obesity is a worsening epidemic worldwide. In the United States alone, around 160,000 people undergo at least one type of bariatric procedure each year.
The most commonly prescribed surgeries for weight loss include the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and Lap Band. To understand how gastric sleeve surgery is different from the other two procedures, we should first explain how they are similar.
We’ll start with the Lap Band which clinically goes by the name laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. This procedure used to be the most commonly prescribed surgery in the United States until doctors discovered the increased risk of complications. An adjustable band separated the stomach, which restricted how much the patient could eat. That is how all three of these surgeries work. They restrict calories, nutrients, or both.
Gastric bypass surgery involves the separation of the stomach by way of stapling. Unlike the gastric band, gastric bypass surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) is permanent and cannot be adjusted or reversed. The first part of the surgery gives you a smaller stomach to work with. The second part of the surgery involves rerouting the smaller stomach pouch to a section of the small intestine. Gastric bypass surgery restricts both calories and nutrients. The procedure is aimed at the severely obese and of the three types of surgeries offers the greatest amount of weight loss.
Gastric sleeve surgery also restricts how much you can eat. During the procedure, the bariatric surgeon removes around 80% of your stomach tissue. The remaining tissue is fashioned into a banana-shaped sleeve, hence where the procedure got its name. Gastric sleeve surgery can help you lose at least 50% of your excess weight over the long term. The procedure is associated with a lowered risk of complications and is aimed at those on the lower end of the BMI (body mass index) scale. You can qualify for gastric sleeve with a BMI of 30 to 40, particularly if your weight gain accompanies a weight-related ailment such as diabetes.
Gastric surgery also goes by a couple of different names. You may hear it called laparoscopic gastric sleeve or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
What are the Benefits of the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy?
The immediate benefit of gastric sleeve surgery is that you are forced to eat less. Since your stomach is smaller in size after surgery, you can only consume a few ounces of food at a time. This teaches you to eat smaller portions during meals.
Right now you may be thinking, “Great. I’m going to be starving!” You may say that if you were used to eating sizable portions before. As Americans, we are all used to giant plates and equally sized meals, such as those served at restaurants. This has taught us to eat more than we need for energy. When we try to cut calories, most of us end up starving and feeling deprived.
Following gastric sleeve surgery, you feel less hungry overall. That is because the portion of the stomach that is cut away during surgery is responsible for making ghrelin, the hunger hormone. With your body producing less ghrelin, you don’t feel so hungry. You also feel fuller faster during meals.
With you eating less (and following your bariatric surgeon’s recommendations on how to eat and move your body), the weight melts away like wax on a burning candle.
In addition to rapid and significant weight loss, gastric sleeve surgery is considered a viable treatment for weight-related ailments. You may see your condition get better or you may find that the condition resolves entirely. We’re talking about sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and depression.
What are the Risks of the Gastric Sleeve?
All surgeries come with risks. Gastric sleeve surgery is similar. Anytime you have a serious surgery like gastric sleeve, you are at risk of infection, blood clots in the lungs, and lung infection (pneumonia).
Other severe risks include hernias, gastrointestinal obstruction, malnutrition, vomiting, and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). These risks are rare. You can further mitigate your chances of experiencing these risks by choosing your bariatric surgeon wisely.
How Much Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Cost?
The average cost of gastric sleeve surgery is $9,350. The fees you are quoted during your bariatric surgery consultation may be different depending on factors such as anesthesia, hospital or surgical center fees, surgeon’s fees, location, preoperative labs, and post-surgical care.
Most health insurance providers offer coverage for surgeries such as gastric sleeves, especially if your doctor can prove that the procedure is medically necessary for your health. If you have one or more weight-related ailments, that can go a long way toward securing health insurance coverage for gastric sleeve surgery.
Some insurance providers want you to attend nutrition and/or physical fitness classes for a number of months to prove you have done everything possible to lose weight before resorting to surgery.
If health insurance falls through or only covers a portion of the costs, there is always medical financing to fall back on. Companies like Care Credit and Prosper Healthcare Lending offer excellent terms for helping you afford bariatric surgery when you need the help.
What is Recovery Like Following Bariatric Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery involves the use of general anesthesia. This will render you unconscious for the duration of the procedure. When you wake up following surgery, you may be groggy and a bit sore. Many gastric sleeve procedures today are performed laparoscopically, which makes the surgeries minimally invasive. Still, even though the doctor did not have to cut you open, there may be some soreness as your body heals following the operation.
You may have to remain in the hospital or medical center for a day or two under observation, though some patients are able to return home the same day. You will be placed on a liquid diet for the first seven days. This will have you consuming sugar-free, non-carbonated liquids as your stomach heals. The next stage of the post-op diet has you eating pureed foods for three weeks. Regular foods begin at four weeks.
You can experience some changes as your body experiences rapid weight loss in the first initial months following your procedure. These changes include body aches, dry skin, feeling cold, feeling tired, mood changes, and hair loss.
Your bariatric surgeon will ensure you understand all the changes you may experience during your initial consultation and as you approach the day of surgery.
How Much Weight Can Gastric Sleeve Help You Lose?
You can lose up to 60% or more of your excess weight within the first two years following gastric sleeve surgery. The amount you lose depends on how well you adapt to the lifestyle changes necessary for long-term weight loss. Your bariatric surgeon and healthcare team will help you choose the right foods and exercises to keep your weight loss progressing. You may experience weight loss stalls at times. But if you keep at it, you can maintain your weight loss over the long term.
How Long Does That Weight Loss Take?
Studies show that laparoscopic gastric sleeve patients lose an average of 49.2% of their excess body weight six months after undergoing surgery. Imagine losing that much weight in that short amount of time! That’s what gastric sleeve surgery can do for you.
Is Weight Regain Possible with Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
While your stomach has shrunk after gastric sleeve, it is still possible to overeat. You likely won’t feel very well after you consume more food than you are physically able, but overeating is still possible. Over time, your stomach can stretch. When that happens, you may require gastric sleeve revision surgery to get your weight loss back on track.
You can also regain weight if you begin eating foods that aren’t on the recommended foods list. A Swedish study assessing weight regain after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy found that patients gained an average of 27.8% of the excess weight lost after seven years. To avoid weight regain, stick to healthy foods and healthy snacks, and a regular fitness program. These are the lifestyle changes that are recommended by your bariatric surgeon and healthcare team.
Read our article: Secrets to Avoid Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery
What is Life Like Following Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?
The major changes you are sure to experience after gastric sleeve surgery include a surge of confidence and a stream of compliments from others about your amazing weight loss. You also won’t feel so hungry all the time. Instead of focusing on the next meal, you’ll be able to focus on living your life and becoming whoever you want to be.
In the first year following gastric sleeve surgery, the excess weight will fall off quickly. Some mornings you may wake up and fail to recognize the person in the mirror. If the scale made you frustrated before, you’ll be elated that the numbers on the display continue to fall.
Your energy skyrockets and your weight-related ailments begin to resolve. During this time, try your best to focus on building healthy lifestyle habits that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Year two is when the weight loss slows down. Your food cravings may slightly increase. This occurs because your body has become accustomed to the stomach sleeve. It is critical that you keep up with your healthy habits so that you maintain the weight loss throughout the second year, third year, and every year following your gastric sleeve procedure.
How Can You Maximize Your Success and Lose Weight for Life?
The best way to kick-start your gastric sleeve weight loss and keep the weight off for life is to remain hydrated, eat right, and get regular exercise. This formula is key to making gastric sleeve surgery work for you.
You are also encouraged to limit or omit sweets, cut down on or eliminate alcohol, and eat small meals throughout the day. When you sign up for gastric sleeve surgery, you have at your disposal a healthcare team that is like a group of superheroes who are intent on helping you succeed at weight loss surgery. You’ll have access to a nutritionist, physical fitness expert, bariatric psychologist, and your bariatric surgeon. With these professionals supporting you, you’ll have everything you need to achieve your weight loss goals.
Schedule a Consultation for Gastric Sleeve Surgery – What Do You Have to Lose?
At this stage, you want to be sure that undergoing gastric sleeve surgery is a possibility. The best way to determine your candidacy for the procedure is to schedule a consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon.
Read our article: From Consultation to Gastric Sleeve Surgery – How Much Time Passes In-Between?
Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki is the only dual board-certified bariatric surgeon in Southern California who also provides post-bariatric body contouring. That means you can have saggy skin removed after losing a significant amount of weight, as well as tighten your abdomen, arms, legs, and the rest of your body.
During the initial gastric sleeve consultation, Doctor Moein will administer a physical examination before discussing your weight loss struggles and health goals. You will find out at that meeting if you are a good choice for this amazing bariatric surgery. Call Healthy Life Bariatrics if you live in Los Angeles or from anywhere in the country. Doctor Moeinolmolki frequently helps those out of state achieve their weight loss goals. Dial (310)881-8503 to see if the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is the best choice for you.