Gastric sleeve surgery is the world’s most popular bariatric surgery. The reason people love it is clear. With an 80% to 90% success rate, it’s obvious the procedure works. Patients have the opportunity to lose between 60% to 70% of their excess weight within one year of undergoing the surgery. The procedure also treats obesity comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and fatty liver disease. Gastric sleeve (along with all bariatric procedures) can even decrease the likelihood of early death. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?
The surgery gave these Houston twins the mobility and energy required to run marathons.
And this Miami woman chose gastric sleeve surgery because she wanted a healthier pregnancy. She went on to lose 63 pounds. She said, “It changed my life drastically. I’m more confident. I have more energy, and I’m excited to do more things.” She went on to say, “I don’t eat fried foods, and I’m even more active now than I was before. I wish I had done this years ago.”
Gastric sleeve surgery could dramatically improve your life. It could extend your life as well. But the gastric sleeve surgery does take a bit of preparation. This article should help.
You’re about to learn all you need to know about gastric sleeve surgery, the benefits, and how to prepare for the procedure as you look forward to long-term weight loss.
How Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Initiate Weight Loss?
Gastric sleeve surgery goes by a couple of different names. You may hear it called the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) or simply sleeve gastrectomy. The procedure is the most common procedure in the world and makes up nearly 50% of all weight loss procedures worldwide.
During the procedure, the doctor molds your digestive system to be more conducive to weight loss. The bariatric surgeon makes tiny incisions, which function as entry points for a serpentine laparoscopic camera and associated tools. This minimally invasive process allows the surgeon to remove 80% of your stomach. The remaining stomach tissue is fashioned into a thin, banana-shaped sleeve. These changes force you to eat less and you feel less hungry overall. As you can imagine, the weight falls off fast following the gastric sleeve procedure.
Watch Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki explain the specifics of the gastric sleeve procedure in the following video:
Is Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Long-Lasting?
To succeed with gastric sleeve surgery, you must make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes. You will be taught how to eat properly by your multidisciplinary healthcare team, which includes a dietician or nutritionist. You will also be given easy-to-follow instructions for how to exercise properly by an experienced fitness expert. By maintaining these lifestyle changes, you can keep the weight off long into the future.
Researchers followed gastric sleeve patients for five years and found that nearly 75% of them managed to keep the excess weight off for the duration of the five years.
Are You a Suitable Candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
To be considered for gastric sleeve surgery, you will have your body mass index (BMI) assessed by a bariatric surgeon during a pre-qualifying consultation. Candidates for the sleeve gastrectomy have a BMI of 35 or higher with or without the presence of obesity comorbidities.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Preparation
The bariatric surgeon’s role during the initial consultation is to make sure you are fully informed about the benefits of gastric sleeve surgery, all the risks, and that you know how to prepare as the day of surgery approaches. Here is some of the advice you may be given.
Begin a Workout Routine Now
Your surgeon will stress that remaining active is one of the key ingredients to being successful with weight loss surgery. Having surgery is not a magic trick. You still must do your part. You can improve your chances of losing the excess weight, and keeping it off, by establishing an exercise routine you can easily maintain. Start that routine now, before you have surgery. That way, you can quickly pick back up as soon as you feel healthy enough to do so after your short recovery period.
Start with slow, low-impact exercises at first, such as walking. You can always build up later to swimming or jogging, as well as muscle resistance training once you experience the inevitable mobility and energy boost that gastric sleeve surgery provides.
Eat Small Portions of Healthy Foods
The gastric sleeve procedure gives you a much smaller stomach to work with than you are accustomed to. You can no longer eat heavy portions of food if you were used to doing so before. Whereas the average stomach holds around 33 ounces of food, the gastric sleeve allows you to eat between 2 and 5 ounces at a time. The thing is, you also feel less hungry overall, so don’t think you’ll be feeling deprived.
Once you have the smaller portions under control, focus on filling your plate with lean meats, healthy fruits and vegetables, and whole-wheat carbohydrates as opposed to simple carbs.
Food is fuel, after all. If you start thinking of food as mere gas for your tank instead of focusing solely on taste, you’ll have made one of the biggest lifestyle changes necessary for long-term gastric sleeve surgery success.
How much should you eat? Experts recommend that you eat between 1200 and 1500 calories per day. Use a calorie-counting app at first until you get the hang of counting calories on your own.
A month prior to surgery, your bariatric surgeon will recommend that you avoid consuming caffeinated beverages.
The Pre-Op Diet and How to Survive
Three weeks prior to your procedure, your bariatric surgeon will put you on a pre-op diet. This limited food consumption plan has three primary benefits.
Makes the Procedure Safer
The pre-op diet reduces fatty deposits around your liver. With fewer fat cells around this vital organ, surgical access to the stomach becomes safer.
Lowers Your Risk of Complications
Suffering from the disease of obesity increases the risk of complications during and after gastric sleeve surgery. Losing a slight amount of weight before surgery lowers your risk of negative side effects and complications.
Helps You Form Positive Food Habits
Limiting your food intake this early on starts you on the path to forming healthy habits that can last for life. By keeping to the pre-op diet, you also gain the confidence that comes with achieving your goals to become much healthier.
During the pre-op diet, you will be encouraged to reduce carbohydrates and focus more on healthy fats and protein. You will also be advised to drink plenty of water while avoiding soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
The Pre-Op Diet Prepares You for the Post-Op Diet
A few days before gastric sleeve surgery, your surgeon will put you on an all-liquid diet. You will find yourself consuming water, broth, gelatins, and low-calorie sports drinks. The liquid diet will continue post-operation for a full week. After two weeks, you’ll eat thicker foods such as cream of wheat, applesauce, and protein shakes. You will gradually introduce more solid foods to your diet until you feel well enough to eat normally, whereby you should have established healthy eating habits.
How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for Gastric Sleeve Surgery
In the book Essentials and Controversies in Bariatric Surgery, edited by Chih-Kun Huang, the mental health evaluation is explained. “The interview consists of a standard psychological evaluation, evaluation of the patient’s appropriateness for surgery, an assessment of eating behavior, stress, coping mechanisms, and social support. It is also used to confirm that the patient has the ability to consent and evaluate all the potential risks and possible benefits of surgery. The psychosocial evaluation should be performed by a credentialed expert in psychology and behavior modification for all patients. Screening for eating disorders can involve using standardized assessments.”
As the book mentions, mental illness and eating disorders are not necessarily contraindications to surgery. Your bariatric surgeon will connect you with a bariatric psychologist who will conduct the assessment. You are encouraged to discuss depression, anxiety, food addictions, and other concerns, such as being overstressed.
The psychologist can give you the tools to be successful with bariatric surgery. You will also learn healthy coping mechanisms for sloughing off unhealthy habits like an old pair of smelly shoes.
By succeeding at gastric sleeve surgery, not only can you look forward to improved cardiovascular health, improved blood pressure, and long-term remission for type 2 diabetes, but you can also potentially find relief from mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Read our article: How to Emotionally Prepare Yourself for Weight Loss Surgery
Don’t Worry, You Have a Healthcare Team Supporting You
Signing up for bariatric surgery like sleeve gastrectomy gives you access to a multidisciplinary support team. This team includes your bariatric surgeon, clinical nursing staff, psychologists, nutritionists, behaviorists, and exercise specialists.
Your team will assist with knowing what, how, and when to eat. You will be given advice on how to exercise regularly and how to work out for your body type and goals. Unhealthy habits such as bored eating, overeating, and stress eating can be worked through with healthy coping mechanisms, and your bariatric surgeon and staff will continuously support you as you traverse along your weight loss journey.
How to Prepare for Gastric Sleeve Surgery Financially
Weight loss surgeries like gastric sleeve are a major life investment that also requires a bit of preparation. This is particularly true if you hope for insurance to pick up the tab.
The average cost of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is $9,350, which is only the base cost. That fee may not include additional costs such as anesthesia, surgeon’s fees, medical facility fees, preoperative lab fees, and follow-up care.
Health insurance companies have come to recognize the health-boosting and life-saving nature of weight loss procedures. Many policies today include weight loss surgery coverage. Your health insurer is likely to pick up the cost if your doctor can prove that gastric sleeve surgery is medically necessary.
As a stipulation of coverage, some insurers require you to attend nutrition and/or exercise classes for a number of months. Doing so proves that you have done everything possible to lose weight but to no avail.
If you are denied insurance coverage, appeal your decision. If you exhaust all of your appeals and still can’t get covered, medical financing is another option to consider.
Care Credit and Prosper Healthcare Lending are two examples of medical finance companies that can make gastric sleeve surgery affordable when you can’t cover the fees out-of-pocket. If paying interest on weight loss surgery fees sounds like more of an investment than you are willing to make, consider that remaining obese may prove to be more expensive in the long run.
Studies have shown that those suffering from obesity spend thousands more in medical fees and prescriptions over their lifetime than those of a healthier weight. When you factor these costs, you soon come to realize that weight loss surgery pays for itself over time.
Read our article: Is It Possible to Finance Bariatric Surgery?
The Time to Get Started is Now
The book Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies by Marina S. Kurian, Barbara Thompson, and Brian K. Davidson has some food for thought for those considering gastric sleeve surgery. “Weight loss surgery is a life-altering experience, one you don’t want to pursue without a lot of thought and careful consultation with your doctor. You need to personally weigh the potential benefits versus the surgical risks. Usually, weight loss surgery is the last resort – after you’ve pursued many other options and failed.”
The lesson is that gastric sleeve surgery is for those who have tried all the diets. You know what it’s like. You’ve ridden the diet roller coaster so often that you’re about to be banned from the amusement park entirely.
You’ve also tried all the exercise routines and all you end up with is tired and hangry (hungry plus angry).
You hate your scale (even though it’s the one that is constantly stepped on). And you want to change.
The bottom line is that if you have tried everything humanly possible to lose weight, it’s time to do something different. It’s time to step into the driver’s seat of your own destiny.
Schedule a Consultation with Top Gastric Sleeve Surgeon
Signing up for gastric sleeve surgery is like getting ready to trade your old body in for a sleeker, more attractive model. But it’s not solely about appearance. Losing excess weight is the best way to finally get healthy.
Case in point, one of Doctor Moeinolmolki’s patients lost over 150 pounds with gastric sleeve surgery and has kept the weight off for a full two years.
If you want results like these and you find yourself waiting for a sign to change your life for the better, here it is. Schedule a consultation today.
Book a discreet consultation with world-renowned bariatric surgeon Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki by calling Healthy Life Bariatrics in Los Angeles, California. Dial (310)881-8503 now to get started. If you suffer from the disease of obesity and have tried everything to get healthy, this may be the most important phone call you make all year.