Bariatric Surgery >> gastric sleeve
What is a gastric sleeve?
The gastric sleeve is one of the bariatric weight loss procedures that has been gaining a lot of popularity in the last few years. However, as compared to many of the other surgical weight loss procedures, this surgery is relatively new. Gastric sleeve surgery, also referred to as Gastric Sleeve Resection or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) can be described as a type of a weight loss surgery, in which the size of a person’s stomach is reduced permanently. This surgery is carried out for those people that need to lose weight, as the procedure promotes a significant loss of weight by limiting the intake of food and reducing the sensation of hunger. Unlike some of the other weight loss surgical procedures, the gastric sleeve does not require mal-absorption of food, or rerouting of the intestines.
During the gastric sleeve operation, a surgeon removes anywhere between 60% and 80% of the stomach, along with a part of the greater curvature and leaves only a small “sleeve” that extends from the natural opening of the stomach, to the natural outlet of the stomach. In most cases, gastric sleeve surgery is carried out in two stages. In the past this procedure was always followed up by either a gastric bypass or a duodenal switch surgery. However, this surgery is now conducted in two stages, to make weight loss safer for whose patients who are at a higher risk for health problems that are related to or caused by obesity.
When is gastric sleeve surgery required?
Many people who are overweight or obese believe that perhaps a weight loss procedure, such as gastric sleeve surgery can help them reach their ideal weight range. However, this procedure cannot be performed on just about anybody. Only those patients who have a Body Mass Index of between 50 and 60 are generally asked to consider gastric sleeve operation. However, there are other people who are overweight, but at the same time, also suffer from medical conditions, due to which they cannot go through a single surgery that is restrictive and mal-absorptive. People who undergo this procedure are expected to lose at least 60% to 70% of their excess weight within a span of 2 years. Hence, this procedure is not just effective for weight loss, but it can also reduce the risks of many other health problems and diseases that are a direct result of obesity.
One of the benefits that have been seen by people who have gone through gastric sleeve operation includes normal digestion, since the digestive tract has not been altered in any way. Moreover, after going through the gastric sleeve procedure, a person could also go through a duodenal switch or a gastric bypass if required, for additional weight loss. Moreover, as compared to several other weight loss surgical procedures, gastric sleeve surgery is less complicated.
Gastric sleeve complications
Just like with any other medical or surgical procedure, there are certain gastric sleeve complications that people should be made aware of, before they decide to go through the procedure. Some of the most commonly seen gastric sleeve problems include:
- The possibility of weight regain after a while
- Formation of blood clots
- Stretching of the small pouch, which in turn may lead to an increase in appetite
- Leaks or bleeding that may be seen on the edge of the stomach that was stapled
Gastric sleeve diet
It is important for all people to realize that while this procedure can put a restriction on the amount of food that they eat, it cannot control what they eat. Therefore, in order to ensure that they surgery is successful the patients need to follow a proper gastric sleeve diet that has been recommended by the surgeon or the doctor. After going through any weight loss surgery, including the gastric sleeve, patients are asked to stay on a “clear liquid” diet for at least two days, where they can have skim milk, clear broth, fruit juice (unsweetened), strained soup and sugarless gelatin. After two days, the patient will be asked to follow a “puree diet” for the duration of around 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, the patient can eat pureed fruits, beans, yogurt, cream of wheat, egg whites, cream soup and mashed potatoes. After that, for around 8 to 10 weeks, the patient should follow a “soft food diet”, which includes several varieties of cooked vegetables, diced meat, fruits, and so on. Finally, around 10 to 12 weeks after the weight loss surgery, a patient can follow a normal solid food diet, that contains only small quantities of fat, oil, protein and carbs. In fact, a patient may be asked to follow the diet for a period of at least 2 years, if not more, thereby limiting their daily caloric intake between 600 and 800 calories each day. After achieving their normal weight goal, patients can increase their daily caloric intake to 1000 to 1200 calories each day. However, in order to maintain a healthy weight, it may be necessary to follow a proper workout routine too.
Gastric sleeve insurance/costs
It is very important for all patients to know what the cost of the gastric sleeve operation is, before taking the decision to go in for it. The cost of the procedure will definitely vary, based on factors such as the facility it is performed in, the state and the skill of the surgeon. On average, the cost of the procedure could be anywhere above $ 10,000, just for the operation, with additional costs for the anesthesia or other procedures. Moreover, there are only few insurance plans that cover this procedure and therefore, all patients should check with their insurance providers if they cover this surgery or not.
All patients are strongly advised to make an appointment with their doctor, or even the gastric sleeve surgeon, to get all their doubts and queries clarified. It may also be a good idea for patients to look at gastric sleeve surgery before/after pictures of people who have already been through the procedure, so that they have a better idea about what they can expect.