We all know obesity is an epidemic that is only getting worse in recent years but did you know that if you have a BMI greater than 30, you have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death? Your chances of developing obesity-related diseases and conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer also go up when you are obese. The diseases caused or associated with obesity are also known as co-morbidities. Because of these co-morbidities, it is sometimes harder or impossible for you to lose the weight you need. Thankfully, Bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass, lap-band surgery, and gastric sleeve surgery have been shown to be the most effective and long lasting weight loss surgeries. These surgeries can help symptoms of morbid obesity and even cure you of its many related conditions. If you adapt your lifestyle correctly pre and post surgery, you can achieve significant weight loss.
In the United States, gastric sleeve surgery now makes up over 60% of all weight loss surgery procedures performed. In the United States, about 200,000 adults have metabolic/bariatric surgery each year.
What Are The Risks?
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported notable improvements in the safety of bariatric surgery. This improvement is due to improved laparoscopic (less invasive) techniques. Your risk of death is about 0.1 percent, and the overall likelihood of major complications is about 4 percent.
Benefits of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Gastric surgery works by removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a banana-shaped “sleeve” that connects the esophagus to the small intestines.
On average, you have a chance of losing between 64% and 75% of your excess weight.
- Less Complicated – Gastric sleeve surgery is less complicated than other weight loss surgeries: your digestive system is not rearranged. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, it works restrictively, by shrinking the stomach and making you feel full sooner. Unlike lap-band surgery, there are no foreign objects implanted in your body.
- Lower Complication Rate – Unlike invasive gastric bypass and duodenal switch surgery, gastric sleeve surgery does not rearrange the digestive system. This results in a lower complication rate, fewer malabsorption problems, and a faster recovery. Compared to other weight loss procedures, gastric sleeve surgery has fewer complications: you have a reduced risk of malnutrition, it mostly avoids dumping syndrome, and there is a reduced risk of developing long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Gastric sleeve surgery is frequently used as the second option if lap band surgery doesn’t work.
- It Works Well – Weight loss (on average) is as good as or better than gastric bypass and much better (on average) than after lap band surgery
- Lower Risk of Ulcer Development – If you are on anticoagulation medicine, gastric sleeve surgery is probably a better choice to reduce the risk of marginal ulcers when compared with gastric bypass surgery.
- Usually Covered By Insurance – Most insurance companies now include gastric sleeve surgery under their covered bariatric procedures, although there are a few that still do not.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Irreversible – Unlike lap-banding, gastric sleeve surgery is irreversible – once your stomach is shrunk there is no way to change it back to the original size.
- Leakage – Gastric sleeve surgery creates a relatively long staple line which presents an increased risk of staple line leaks and bleeding.
- Minimal Time Commitment – Gastric sleeve surgery is typically done laparoscopically and in about two hours. Your hospital stay will last about two or three days
- Somewhere In The Middle – The overall short-term risk of gastric sleeve is similar to that of gastric bypass, higher than lap band and lower than duodenal switch. The overall long-term risk of gastric sleeve is lower than all other procedures. Your feeling of hunger may be lower after GS than with the gastric band (lap band) or gastric bypass.
- Difficulty Swallowing
You need to pay careful attention to your surgeon’s instructions, which will include a special diet to let your stomach heal properly. You’re also likely to face challenges while your body gets used to the changes caused by gastric sleeve surgery. You will also need to develop permanent long term habits to help you accomplish your weight loss goals. Accomplishing it alone is not possible; you will need the support and help of your friends, family, and weight loss surgery team. If you utilize the nutritional consultation services and group exercise programs recommended to you by health professionals, you can lose lots of weight and be healthy again. If you let your post surgery habits slip back in you are more likely to experience post surgery problems. For example, most patients with gastric sleeve surgery who also have diabetes experience a complete remission after surgery. These total recoveries can be possible for you if you prepare significantly and realize that you are what you eat. The proper eating habits are the difference between your surgery resulting in success or failure.
Ultimately, you will need to weigh the risks and complications of gastric sleeve surgery against the possible benefits it will have for you. Comparing it to other weight loss surgeries is important. You can ask your physician to help you compare all the possible treatments with your specific needs. Most of all, you should be willing to change permanently your eating habits that are damaging to your weight loss goals.
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