Gastric Sleeve Surgery: What It Is and How to Prepare

Obesity is a common problem in the United States and is often associated with chronic health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. For this reason, physicians recommend staying within your ideal body mass index. Unfortunately, some people may not lose significant weight through diet and exercise, putting their health at risk. When diet and exercise prove futile, your Waxahachie, TX bariatric surgeon may recommend gastric sleeve surgery to help you lose weight.

What is gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery or sleeve gastrectomy is a weight loss procedure that involves excising about 80% of your stomach, leaving a tube-shaped pouch resembling the size and shape of a banana. When you have a limited stomach size, you may eat less food than before because you get the feeling of satiety faster. Usually, surgeons perform the procedure laparoscopically, whereby small incisions are made in the upper abdomen, through which instruments are inserted. Besides limiting the size of your stomach, the process also prompts hormonal changes, which aid weight loss. These hormonal changes may also relive obesity-related problems such as heart disease and hypertension.

When would I need gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve gastrectomy helps you lose weight when that becomes impossible with exercise and diet. Besides weight loss, it reduces your risk of potentially life-threatening health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, infertility, obstructive sleep apnea, and hypertension. Your doctor may recommend sleeve gastrectomy if you have extreme obesity, meaning your BMI is 40 or higher. The procedure is also recommended for individuals with a BMI between 25-39.9 who have weight-related severe health problems like high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea.

Suitable candidates should also be willing to make permanent lifestyle changes after surgery. For instance, you may need to participate in long-term follow-up plans to monitor your general health.

How you prepare for the procedure

Like any other surgical procedure, you need to discuss it with your specialist to ensure you are a good candidate. An initial consultation also helps you understand the ins and outs of the procedure, including what it involves, the risks, benefits, and what to expect after surgery.

For example, your surgeon may discuss how surgery improves your general health but poses several risks. Some of the side effects of the procedure include reactions to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, infection, blood clots, lung problems, and leaks from the cut edge of the stomach. Gastric sleeve surgery may also cause long-term malnutrition, low blood sugar, gastrointestinal obstruction, and hernia.

A few weeks before surgery, you may need to stop using any tobacco products. Your surgeon may require that you start a physical activity program. Your diet will mainly consist of two protein shakes and at least eight glasses of water; that may change as you approach surgery. You may also need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and any dietary supplements to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding. Now is also the right time to plan for recovery, including arranging for help at home and getting someone to drive you home after surgery.

If you have failed to lose significant weight with exercise and diet, consult your surgeon at LoneStar Bariatrics to establish that weight loss surgery is an option for you.