What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Posted by on December 3, 2019 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of weight loss surgery that is used to treat severe obesity and reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening weight-related health issues. Also known as sleeve gastrectomy, the procedure removes most of the stomach so the amount of food you can take in is restricted. You feel full faster, with less caloric intake.

Gastric sleeve surgery is typically performed laparoscopically, meaning “minimally invasive”, involving the insertion of small instruments through several small incisions, or cuts, in the upper abdomen. About 75% of the stomach is removed with the remaining stomach roughly equivalent to the size and shape of a banana or sleeve, hence the name “gastric sleeve.”

Here's what happens:

You will be administered a general anesthesia in hospital so that you will be asleep and comfortable during the surgery. After your surgeon makes incisions in your upper abdomen, small surgical tools will be inserted into the cuts. A sizing tube will then be inserted into the stomach through the mouth, and a laparoscopic stapler will be used to divide the stomach so that the larger part can be removed out of the abdomen through one of the incisions. Your surgeon can then test for any leaks using a dye study or an upper endoscopy, also known as EGD. Surgery usually takes one to two hours.

Who is it for?

Gastric sleeve surgery is typically recommended for people with severe obesity who have not had success with other weight loss methods. Your doctor may also advise it if you have additional potentially life-threatening health risks such as:

  • Obesity-related heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Weight-related stroke
  • GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Sleep apnea

Most patients need to meet certain medical guidelines to qualify for weight loss surgery and you will likely need to go through an extensive screening process to see if you qualify.

Are there any risks associated with a sleeve gastrectomy?

While the surgery is performed with minimally invasive incisions and is generally considered low risk, as with any other surgery it carries with it potential health risks in both the short- and the long-term.

These risks can include:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Breathing or lung problems
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Hernias
  • Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
  • Infection
  • Leaks from the cut edge of the stomach
  • Malnutrition
  • Vomiting

What to expect after gastric sleeve surgery?

Everyone will recover at a different rate, but be sure to practice self-care while you are recovering. As with any surgery, there will naturally be soreness in the areas of the incisions, along with some belly pain.

In order for the body to recover and adjust to the new, smaller stomach size after surgery, you must follow a strict diet. This includes eating smaller, more frequent, and healthier meals, not only in the short-term but for the rest of your life.

You will be given a four phase diet to get back to a healthy eating pattern.

Phase 1

The first phase usually lasts about a week following surgery and consists of clear liquids in order to stay well hydrated. Clear liquids include at least eight glasses of water every day and can also include things like broth or decaffeinated coffee or tea. All caffeinated, sugary, and carbonated drinks are to be avoided.

Phase 2

Most people begin to feel hunger 7-10 days after surgery, so during Phase Two, you can switch to a fuller liquid diet that includes a sugar-free protein powder mixed into clear or full liquids. Your goal at the beginning of this phase is to consume 20 grams of protein each day with ½ cup of liquid per meal and increase to 60-80 grams by the end.

You should continue drinking plenty of water every day but avoid sugary foods and chunky soups.

Toward the end of the second week, you may begin adding thicker, pureed foods but continue to avoid sugar and high-fat foods.

Phase 3

Phase 3 is where the transition to soft foods occurs. It is important to stay well hydrated and to continue eating 60-80 grams of protein every day. At this stage, you want to include high-protein, nutrient-dense soft foods to aid in recovery and to help you feel satisfied and full.

Phase 4

The transition to solid foods occurs about four weeks following surgery. You should continue hydrating with water, drinking your protein shake, and getting 60-80 grams of protein daily. However, at this stage, refrain from drinking 30 minutes before meals.

It is now safe for you to eat most types of foods, although you will want to avoid getting your calories from drinks.

The surgery's success will be dependent upon your willingness to commit to other aspects of healthy living, including regular exercise and likely vitamin and mineral supplementation, as well as regular follow-up visits to monitor your nutrition, lifestyle and medical conditions.

Finally, keep in mind that weight loss may be slow at first after the surgery, but if you stick with your new healthy diet and lifestyle, you may achieve your healthy weight within a year or two.

What is the cost of gastric sleeve surgery?

If you think this is what you need to get back on track with your health and you're ready to follow through and maintain healthy life and dietary changes post-surgery, but you're wondering how much gastric sleeve surgery will cost, here is something to consider.

The average cost of a typical gastric sleeve inpatient surgery nation-wide is $31,439.

The cost of any kind of weight loss surgery can vary depending on a number of factors. These can include the patient's specific situation, the experience and skill level of the surgeons and staff, and the level of support and post-operative care needed, among others.

Final Thoughts

The best way to find out if gastric sleeve surgery is right for you is to ask your doctor and schedule a consultation. You can discuss whether you're a candidate for this type of weight loss surgery, and the best way to approach financing. There are a number of options available to you.

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