What Is a Sleeve Gastrectomy and Could You Benefit from One?

Anyone who has struggled with their weight knows just how much of a lifelong battle it can be.

There are more than 93 million Americans fighting obesity and more than ever before are turning to sleeve gastrectomy surgery as their weight loss answer.

Keep reading to learn more about sleeve gastrectomy and whether it could be the answer for you too.

What is Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?

Gastric sleeve procedures have been a surgical option since first being performed in 1988 by Doug Hess of Bowling Green, Ohio. 

The procedure involves surgically removing approximately 15% of a patient’s stomach and greater curvature. This reshaping and removal of a portion leaves the stomach in a similar shape to a sleeve or tube, hence the name gastric sleeve.

It allows a person to eat less, feel full more quickly and have a better chance of success with weight loss.

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How Is It Done?

To make it the least invasive as possible, it is a laparoscopic procedure that requires only a few small incisions in the abdomen. This leads to less risk of infection or other complications and requires less time to heal and recover from the operation.

There may be some preparation before the date of the surgery. You’ll want to learn as much about the procedure and aftercare as possible before going in. Your health care team will provide Bariatric educational sessions that you may be required to attend before your procedure is done.

This is not a miracle procedure, so patients must commit to a lifelong change in lifestyle and eating habits. This will all be discussed and should be seriously thought about prior to having bariatric surgery.

On the day of the procedure, you’ll be asked to arrive early so that they can perform preliminary tests and get you registered. You’ll require general anesthetic so that you don’t feel a thing during the surgery. A laparoscopic stapler will then divide the stomach, removing a part and leaving only a sleeve or tube-shaped organ. 

You will be followed-up by the surgeon after the procedure to make sure there are no leaks, infections or complications.

Who is a Candidate for a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

A gastric sleeve procedure isn’t for someone just wanting to drop a few pounds. It is reserved for those with an extremely high BMI (>40 BMI) and is at higher risk of health issues due to obesity.

It may be advisable for those with a slightly lower BMI (30-40) who are already experiencing high-risk medical conditions that could improve with intervention.

These may include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure,
  • Sleep apnea
  • Major mobility issues

Many of these conditions can lead to serious complications that can lead to blood clots, strokes, heart attacks and more.

What is Required After Surgery?

You’ll probably be kept overnight and sent home with an aftercare plan that may include a gradual diet of liquids to purees to soft foods. Then you’ll eventually be able to eat small portions of healthy foods on your meal plan. 

There will also be regular blood tests and follow up appointments. 

Most importantly, you’ll have a plan for making a healthier lifestyle, activity, and food choices to follow long-term.

One Day at a Time

Making major life changes such as getting sleeve gastrectomy surgery isn’t an easy transition. Make small changes, one day at a time and you will be more likely to have long term success.

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