Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Over 2 billion people worldwide are now considered overweight or obese, which means people are more fat and sick than ever before. This trend in significant weight gain is attributed to lifestyle habits such as nutrient-poor diets that provide unrealistic meal portions, a lack of physical activity and poor sleep habits. For those whose body mass index (BMI) surge higher than 40, significant weight loss can prove to be a nearly insurmountable task. Luckily, the gastric sleeve weight loss surgery can help overweight and obese individuals lose substantial weight and regain control of their health.
To schedule a consultation with a bariatric surgeon inthat specializes in gastric sleeve surgery, call (470) 419-4380 or contact us online.
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, is a weight loss surgery that was actually introduced by accident. Prior to 2010, gastric bypass and duodenal switch weight loss procedures were the two bariatric surgeries covered by insurance, but the inherent problem with these procedures is that they are time-intensive and thus require large amounts of sedation. Complications tend to arise in people with higher BMIs (over 45) while sedated for long periods, and surgeons began dividing the surgery into two stages to minimize these risks.
Stage 1 is currently known as gastric sleeve surgery, which involves laparoscopically removing up to 80 percent of the stomach. Subsequently, the portion of the stomach removed contributes to feelings of satiation by reducing the amounts of the hormone grehlin. Lower levels of grehlin are associated with feeling full quicker and experiencing less hunger.
Stage 2 involves the gastric bypass, a much longer procedure that makes a portion of the small intestine non-functional by re-routing the digestive system. The intentional yearlong hiatus between the two procedures was implemented so that patients would lower their BMI in order to reduce adverse effects of anesthesia.
Contrary to the plan, in many instances stage two of the surgery was cancelled because patients had lost upwards of half of their excess body weight by the gastric sleeve procedure alone, making the bypass unnecessary. Insurance companies quickly approved the less complicated gastric sleeve surgery, and success rates skyrocketed.
Bariatric surgeons quickly began to take note of the many benefits of gastric sleeve surgery, including:
- Reduced hunger due to a smaller stomach and decreased production of the hormone grehlin
- The lack of intestinal bypass reduced nutrient-deficiencies
- Easier and less time-consuming procedure
- Quicker recovery
- Quick weight loss
- No dumping syndrome (in gastric bypass, the sugar movement into the intestine is not regulated and leads to nausea)
- Decreased risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Aids in treatment of type II diabetes
Am I a Candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery has been performed on individuals from age 12 to 79, and it is now the most performed of all weight loss surgeries available (60%). If you are 80 to 100 pounds overweight and have a history of failed weight loss attempts through diet and exercise, gastric sleeve may be recommended for you. Candidates for surgery include anyone with a BMI higher than 40 or a BMI higher than 35 if other weight-related conditions exist, such as sleep apnea, type II diabetes and heart disease.
In addition, the right mindset is absolutely crucial to gastric sleeve surgery success. You must be motivated to take an active role in your weight loss journey by understanding the surgery and its associated risks. A willingness to completely modify your entire lifestyle is also critical to long-term success.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure & Recovery
Once your healthcare provider has evaluated your current health state, including your current BMI, preexisting conditions and your likelihood to adhere to a strict diet pre- and post-surgery, you can be approved for gastric sleeve surgery. A high-protein, low-sugar, low-carb pre-op diet must be followed at least two weeks leading up to your surgery. Your surgeon will give you an explicit list of dietary instructions that will be critical to follow. In the days before surgery, your diet will be reduced to clear liquids only in order to cleanse the digestive system, and several hours prior to your surgery, you will be required to fast.
The gastric sleeve operation itself is straightforward. Under general anesthesia, your surgeon will make a few incisions, remove a large portion of your stomach, and then stitch the necessary incisions back up. The entire procedure only takes 1-2 hours to perform. You will be asked to stand up and take a few steps within a few hours after surgery to prevent blood clots. That first day, the pain will be moderate and controlled by pain medication.
Rest is absolutely critical after any surgical procedure, but in the case of gastric sleeve surgery, which involves massive reconstruction of the digestive system, a step-by-step re-introduction to food is a must to avoid serious discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, dehydration, bowel obstruction and, worst of all, a gastric leak. The post-op diet needs to be low in fat and sugar, so non-fat and sugar-free products are highly recommended. Your gastric sleeve diet will be guided by your healthcare professional and may differ based on your unique dietary restrictions. In general, your diet will likely consist of:
Post-op diet week one: Clear liquids only.
Post-op diet week two: Full liquids, including shakes, can be introduced. Options include:
- Soup (no chunks)
- Watery oatmeal and applesauce
- Other juices like orange juice
Post-op diet week three: All foods must be pureed and added one-by-one to meals so that any food intolerance can be identified and avoided.
Post-op diet week four: Solid foods can slowly resume, but it is best to chew thoroughly and eat slowly.
After your gastric sleeve surgery, your healthcare provider will also begin you on an extensive vitamin and supplement regimen to help counteract any nutrients lost from your reduced daily diet.
Gastric Sleeve Complications
Like any surgery, there are risks of complications during recovery. A major risk is staple line leakage, which occurs in about 2.4% of procedures. Signs of a leak can include a fever as well as pulse and breathing changes. Other risks include:
- Blood clots
- Stricture (stomach opening inflammation or blockage that affects passage of food)
Long-term complications/disadvantages of the gastric sleeve include:
- Nutritional deficiencies (less common than bypass)
- Gallstones (very common – as many as 23% of patients within 2 years)
- Stomach stretching (if you do not change eating habits)
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Success
A sleeve gastrectomy gives you the ability to jumpstart significant weight loss that you would likely be unable to accomplish on your own. However, your sleeve weight loss surgery is not a cure-all for your obesity. Long-term weight loss success requires you to take an active role in your health and to consistently challenge yourself. Diet, exercise and other healthy habits will be critical to keeping the weight off.
If you are considering gastric sleeve surgery in , meet with a skilled bariatric surgeon that can discuss your weight loss options. Call (470) 419-4380 or contact us online.