WHAT IS GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY?
A gastric sleeve, also known as a sleeve gastrectomy, is a surgical procedure used to treat obesity and promote weight loss. It is one of the most popular bariatric surgeries performed worldwide. The surgery involves the removal of a significant portion of the stomach, leaving behind a sleeve-shaped pouch that resembles a banana. This reduction in stomach size restricts the amount of food a person can eat, leading to reduced calorie intake and, consequently, weight loss.
Here are some key points to understand about gastric sleeve surgery:
- Indications: Gastric sleeve surgery is typically recommended for individuals who are severely obese and have not been successful with other weight loss methods like diet and exercise. It may also be considered for those with obesity-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.
- Procedure: The surgery is usually performed laparoscopically, which involves making small incisions in the abdomen and using specialized surgical instruments. During the procedure, about 75-80% of the stomach is removed, leaving behind a narrow tube or sleeve-shaped stomach. This smaller stomach size results in earlier feelings of fullness and reduced food intake.
- Weight Loss: Gastric sleeve surgery is effective at promoting significant weight loss. Patients can typically expect to lose 50% or more of their excess body weight within the first year after the surgery. The rate of weight loss varies from person to person but is generally faster in the initial months after the procedure.
- Effect on Health: In addition to weight loss, gastric sleeve surgery often leads to improvements in obesity-related health conditions. Many patients experience a reduction or even resolution of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.
- Diet and Lifestyle Changes: After the surgery, patients are required to make significant changes to their diet and lifestyle. They must adopt a diet that is low in calories and focuses on protein intake while avoiding certain foods that can cause discomfort or complications. Regular physical activity is also encouraged.
- Potential Complications: Like all surgical procedures, gastric sleeve surgery carries some risks and potential complications. These may include infection, bleeding, leakage from the staple line, or development of gastrointestinal issues. However, with proper pre-operative evaluation and post-operative care, the risk of complications is generally low.
- Long-Term Considerations: It’s important to understand that gastric sleeve surgery is a permanent alteration to the digestive system. While it can be highly effective for weight loss, it requires a lifetime commitment to dietary and lifestyle changes to maintain the results and avoid potential complications.
- Consultation with Healthcare Professionals: Deciding to undergo gastric sleeve surgery is a significant decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare team, including a bariatric surgeon, nutritionist, and psychologist. Patients should be well-informed about the procedure, its risks, benefits, and long-term implications.
During the Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure
- Preparation: Before the surgery, you will have a pre-operative evaluation, which may include medical tests, discussions with your healthcare team, and guidance on pre-surgery dietary restrictions and lifestyle changes.
- Anesthesia: On the day of the surgery, you will be taken to the operating room, where you will receive anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and asleep during the procedure.
- Surgery: Gastric sleeve surgery is typically performed laparoscopically, using small incisions in the abdomen. Here are the key steps:
- The surgeon creates a small stomach pouch by removing about 75-80% of the stomach. The remaining portion takes on a tubular or sleeve-like shape, which is why it’s called a gastric sleeve.
- The incisions are closed with surgical staples or sutures, and the surgery is completed.
After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Hospital Stay: Depending on your individual circumstances and surgeon’s preference, you may spend one or more nights in the hospital for observation and recovery.
- Pain Management: You may experience some discomfort or pain at the incision sites, which can usually be managed with pain medications as prescribed by your healthcare team.
- Diet Progression: In the immediate post-operative period, you will not be allowed to consume solid foods. You’ll start with clear liquids and then gradually transition to pureed or soft foods before moving on to solid foods. Your surgeon and dietitian will provide specific dietary guidelines.
- Activity: Early ambulation (getting up and moving around) is encouraged to prevent blood clots and aid in recovery. However, strenuous activities should be avoided during the initial recovery period.
- Lifestyle Changes: Successful weight loss and overall health improvements after gastric sleeve surgery require significant lifestyle changes. You will need to commit to dietary modifications,
- Nutritional Supplements: Due to the reduced stomach size and changes in nutrient absorption, you may need to take nutritional supplements, such as vitamins and minerals, as prescribed by your healthcare team.
- Weight Loss: Weight loss typically starts soon after surgery, and most individuals can expect to lose a significant amount of weight in the first year. The rate of weight loss varies from person to person.