Gastric Sleeve is the most popular weight loss procedure performed today, by far, and it’s not hard to see why. It offers several advantages for patients who are overweight and looking for a permanent weight loss solution with an easier-to-tolerate procedure than many other bariatric surgeries.
Major advantages of Gastric Sleeve
Lose a significant amount of weight—quickly—and keep it off. Improve your health and eliminate chronic health conditions. If those are your goals, Gastric Sleeve could be a great option for you. With this procedure, patients can lose as much as 75 percent of their excess weight and maintain that weight loss long-term.
Weight loss from Gastric Sleeve is also quick—most of it occurs in the first year, unlike procedures like Lap-Band where the weight loss is more gradual and spread out over three years. While that may mean a bikini or swim trunks are in your near future, the associated health benefits are often what drive patients to look into the procedure in the first place. Gastric Sleeve can greatly improve a person’s health or even completely knock out many dangerous health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
The substantial weight loss associated with Gastric Sleeve has also been shown to help relieve depression, lessen joint pain, improve fertility, and alleviate everything from metabolic syndrome to gallbladder disease. Gastric Sleeve also has low complication rates and is less invasive than many other bariatric procedures, with a shorter operating time and recovery period compared to gastric bypass.
Patients also appreciate that, with Gastric Sleeve, there is no re-routing of the intestines, no “dumping” like with Gastric Bypass, no foreign objects left in the body and no adjustments needed as is the reality for Lap-Band patients.
How Gastric Sleeve works
During the Gastric Sleeve procedure, 75 to 80 percent of the stomach is removed through several small incisions, and a new stomach, or sleeve, is created. The digestion process in unchanged post-operatively because there is no intestinal re-routing with Gastric Sleeve.
A “normal” stomach can hold as much as 1,500ml of food and liquid, while your post-op stomach will be filled up at 50ml. With his new, much smaller stomach, you’ll naturally feel full sooner, so you won’t eat as much, but you can still enjoy a good-size meal. The procedure further promotes weight loss by changing the hormone signals that naturally occur between the stomach, the brain, and the liver.
The Gastric Sleeve procedure is done laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive. Because it is an easier procedure than many others weight loss surgeries, it is often recommended for patients who may be too high risk for other surgical options. The procedure is completed within one or two hours.
Who is a candidate for Gastric Sleeve?
A lot of us want may want to lose a few or get a bit more fit, but if you’re just looking to get rid of that last 10 pounds, Gastric Sleeve is not for you. Even though this is considered an extremely safe and effective procedure, it is still surgery. The procedure is intended for those with a BMI of 35 or greater, although a BMI between 30 and 35 may also be considered, depending on the patient.
Good candidates for Gastric Sleeve are also those who:
- Are 50 or more pounds overweight
- Have already tried to lose weight using more traditional methods (special diets, exercise, etc.)
- Are age 18 or older
- Are in good mental health
- Are ready to make a long-term commitment to their health
What to expect after Gastric Sleeve
While weight loss rates will vary depending on factors including age and gender of the patient, activity level, ongoing diet, amount of weight to lose at the time of surgery, and individual metabolic rates, the weight loss from Gastric Sleeve is brisk. Within three months after the procedure, you can expect to lose as much as 33 percent of your excess weight. At six months, it’s 50 percent, and, within a year, 70 percent of the weight needed to lose will have disappeared.
On average, patients keep off more than half of their excess weight after five years. Those who are most successful at long-term weight loss remain committed to their health. It is possible to stretch the stomach some by overeating, so patients are encouraged to follow a plan of healthy eating and regular exercise. Your doctor will work closely with you post-surgery to set you up for success and help you establish and maintain good habits.
Recovery from Gastric Sleeve
Because of the minimally invasive nature of Gastric Sleeve, recovery is much easier than with some other bariatric surgeries. Hospital stays are typically two to three days and you can expect to be off work for one to three weeks with a full recovery within four to six weeks. Side effects are generally minor and can include nausea and some digestive issues; they should subside over time as the body gets used to its new regimen.
Pain is considered manageable and can be treated with medication. Your doctor will also prescribe you an immediate eating plan that starts with clear liquids, transitioning to solid foods, as well as recommendations for an ongoing diet and exercise program as the body heals. You can expect to have follow-up appointments with the doctor two weeks after you are released from the hospital and at three, six, and 12 months after surgery.