¿How does sleeve gastrectomy work?
During a sleeve gastrectomy, a thin, vertical sleeve is created using a stapling device. The sleeve that is formed can hold between 50 to 150 milliliters—approximately the size of a banana. The rest of the stomach is removed.
The gastrointestinal tract now allows for a change in signals of the body, decreasing hunger throughout the day and increasing fullness after meals. This enables patients to control food portions and form long-term healthy eating habits.
This procedure also decreases the levels of Ghrelin, a hunger hormone that tells the brain to increase food consumption and the storage of fat. During the sleeve gastrectomy, a primary part of the stomach that produces Ghrelin is removed. Less Ghrelin means a decreased desire to eat.
Along with sleeve gastrectomy, patient’s behavior modification and strict diet play an important role in weight-loss success.
¿Do I qualify for sleeve gastrectomy?
If you answer “yes” to all the questions below, you may qualify!
- Are you between the ages 18 and 70?
- Do you have a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher and obesity co-morbidities?
- Have you been obese for 1 or more years?
- Have you attempted to lose weight via non-surgical methods with no success?
- Are you aware of the risks, side effects, and complications?
- Do you agree to make the necessary lifestyle changes?
- Can you commit to a healthy and active lifestyle?
Advantages of sleeve gastrectomy:
There are many potential benefits of sleeve gastrectomy including:
- Hunger reduction
- Shorter hospital stays and faster recovery because it’s minimally invasive as compared to other bariatric surgeries
- Intestines are not reroute
- Once the procedure is complete, no regular adjustments are needed
- Facilitates safe weight loss
- Digestion occurs naturally
- No implant of a medical device
- No periodical adjustment as with gastric bands
Disadvantages of sleeve gastrectomy:
Sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible and, like any other surgical procedure, comes with risk of complications. This includes infection, blood clots, pneumonia, post-op pain, and leakage of stomach contents. Fortunately, the risk of complications is very low making it one of the safest surgical procedures.
Before the surgery:
Follow the two-week pre-op diet as prescribed. Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight before your surgery. You will be given the prescriptions for the medications to have available at home for your aftercare.
Day of surgery:
Check into pre-op then your nurse and Anesthesiologist will meet with you. You will be given a hospital gown to change into and asked to remove any accessories, like watches and earrings. You will be asked to confirm your consent for the purposes of the procedure. You will receive medication to help you relax and an IV. Your nurse will bring you to the operating room where the procedure will take place.
You will be in the recovery unit when you wake up. Soon after, your family will be invited to visit. When our medical staff clears you, you will be brought to your room.
Some patients may leave the hospital the same day of their surgery, some need one to three days of recovery in the hospital. You and your doctor will decide what is best for you.
You will receive discharge instructions and a post-op manual, but here is a preview of the post-op guidelines:
- Sip on liquids to avoid dehydration.
- Do not hesitate to ask your surgeon or nurse about any issues you experience.
- Constipation, and difficult or painful bowl movements are common in the first week after surgery.
- Take your medications as advised.
- Due to reduced calorie consumption, you will feel fatigued for about 2-3 weeks after surgery. This is normal. Your body is adjusting.
- Go for walks. It’s important to keep active for recovery purposes, but don’t overexert yourself.
- You can take showers after surgery, but avoid baths and hot tubs for three weeks after surgery.
- Depending on your profession, you can return to work in about two to four weeks after surgery. Most patients choose to return to work in four to six weeks when they regain their strength.