Sleeve gastrectomy

What is gastric sleeve surgery?

The gastric sleeve, also called sleeve gastrectomy, is a bariatric surgery operation to induce weight loss. It works by reducing the size of your stomach. The word “gastrectomy” means the removal of part or all of your stomach. The gastric sleeve operation removes about 80% of your stomach, leaving behind a tubular “sleeve,” about the size and shape of a banana.

How long does gastric sleeve surgery take?

Compared to other weight loss surgery procedures, a sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively short and simple operation. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes. Your surgeon may still want you to stay in the hospital for one to two days afterward.

This way, they can help manage your pain and any temporary side effects of surgery, such as nausea.

How is gastric sleeve surgery performed?

Most of the time, a sleeve gastrectomy is done by laparoscopic or robotic surgery. That means that instead of making a large incision (or cut) to open your abdominal cavity to access your organs, your surgeon will perform the operation through small incisions.

This makes for an easier recovery, but some people may be better served by open surgery, depending on their conditions.

Is the gastric sleeve safe?

The risks of gastric sleeve surgery are far less than the risks of having obesity and its related diseases. It also has lower complication rates than other common operations, including gallbladder removal and hip replacement. Most gastric sleeve procedures are performed by minimally invasive surgical techniques, which means less pain from incisions and faster recovery.

What medical conditions does gastric sleeve surgery help treat?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical treatment for obesity and medical conditions related to obesity. It’s only offered to qualified people who have serious medical conditions related to their obesity or are at high risk for developing them. Gastric sleeve surgery can improve and sometimes eliminate diseases, including:

  • Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Hypertension and hypertensive heart disease.
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) and arterial disease.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis.
  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Joint pain and osteoarthritis.

What happens before gastric sleeve surgery?

If you’ve passed your health screening and qualify for bariatric sleeve surgery, the next step will be a two-week liquid diet. Your surgeon will give you specific guidelines to follow. The purpose is to lose some of the fat in your abdomen and your liver to make the surgery safer.

You’ll be asked not to eat or drink anything for 12 hours before your operation. That’s to make sure your stomach is empty during the procedure. Having food or liquid left in your stomach during the surgery could cause unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.

What qualifies you for gastric sleeve surgery?

To qualify, the general requirements are:

  • That you have severe obesity (class III). This is determined by your BMI (body mass index), which is calculated by your weight and height, and your related health conditions. Class III obesity means a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 35 with at least one related disease.
  • That you have tried to but not succeeded in losing weight prior to surgery. You may be required to spend three to six months on a medically supervised weight loss plan before your insurance company will approve and cover your surgery.
  • That you are physically and mentally prepared for the surgery and recovery process. Before qualifying for weight loss surgery, you’ll meet with a team of dietitians, psychologists and other medical specialists for counseling and screening.

Will I have to follow a diet after gastric sleeve surgery?

In the short term, you will have to follow strict dietary guidelines to make sure your stomach heals well. After a few months, you may begin to eat a more normal diet, but you’ll still have to choose your foods wisely. Because you won’t be able to eat as much as before, you’ll have to make sure that what you do eat is nutritious enough to sustain your energy needs. You’ll begin taking vitamins shortly after surgery and will need to continue taking them permanently.

What are the advantages of this procedure?

Compared to other bariatric surgery operations, the gastric sleeve is simpler, quicker and safer. People with health conditions that might not be suited for a longer procedure can often tolerate a sleeve gastrectomy. Because the surgery doesn’t rearrange your intestines, it’s also much less likely to cause long-term complications related to nutrition.

While the average weight loss with gastric sleeve is slightly less than with more complex weight loss surgeries, it still offers excellent weight loss and health benefits. This operation began as the first step in a two-step bariatric surgery called the duodenal switch. Surgeons started offering it as a standalone procedure after many people found that they didn’t need to complete the second part.

What is the recovery time from gastric sleeve surgery?

You should give yourself a good month before you expect to feel quite like yourself or return to work at full capacity. During this time, many people feel fatigued or tired as their bodies work to recover while adjusting to limited calories. In the early weeks, you’ll only be able to tolerate a liquid diet. Over time, you’ll gradually progress to a soft diet, and finally, solid foods.