Gastric Sleeve Surgery is also known as Sleeve Gastrectomy. This has become a popular choice for obese patients seeking excellent weight loss procedures which do not require maintenance & cause long-term complications. Failure to lose weight is significantly less with gastric sleeve surgery. However, after weight loss has occurred, it is up to the patient to maintain it by making certain changes in lifestyle. As for the bariatric surgeon, it is quite difficult to identify patients who are truly dedicated to implementing exercise & healthy choices including nutrient dense foods into diet.
Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure
Even though stand-alone gastric sleeve weigh loss surgery procedures is increasing in numbers, quite often this operation is the first step in a 2-part weight loss process. Especially for people who are having health problems or are extremely obese & which makes them ineligible for gastric bypass surgery, vertical sleeve gastrectomy weight loss procedure comes as help for them to start losing weight. Following a few years when most people have lost enough weight the second step of this process, typically the duodenal switch procedure, comes into play for further weight loss.
Receiving general anesthesia is the first step while undergoing the laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery procedure. Following which the bariatric surgeon will make several small incisions on the abdomen so as to insert the laparoscope & other specialized instruments for the operation. Laparoscope is a tool consisting of an attachment of light & a tiny camera which sends pictures of the area under operation to a nearby computer monitor. As goal of this operation, the bariatric surgeon will remove three-quarters of the stomach along the outside curvature. They will recreate a new stomach in shape of a thin sleeve or tube which spans the original distance from esophagus to small intestine. Pyloric valve, which is the normal outlet controlling the release of food from stomach to the small intestine will continue to function normally.
Most patients have liked the gastric sleeve surgery procedure & for months, after the operation, have noticed that they were not hungry. Most patients in fact had to remind themselves to eat. Research reveals that hunger producing hormone called ghrelin is significantly lowered among gastric sleeve surgery patients since the area of the stomach which is removed during the operation is the area which produced much of the hormone ghrelin. Even while gastric bypass patients experienced lesser hunger, it seems to be more pronounced among gastric sleeve surgery patients. Potential benefits for people undergoing gastric sleeve surgery procedure are listed below.
- Reducing hunger
- Hunger inducing hormone ghrelin is reduced by removing portions of stomach which are largely responsible for production
- Reduction of hunger is found to occur in most patients but not all
- Shorter time for operation when compare with gastric bypass surgery
- Does not involve re-routing small intestine
- Avoids symptoms of dumping syndrome
- Even though dumping syndrome is a good tool to reinforce decent eating habits, it is quite unpleasant
- Pylorus valve remains intact
- Sugars have time to digest as the small intestine remains untouched
- No adjustments or clinic visits are required like the Lap Band procedure
- No foreign objects are left within the body like the silicone ban in the lap band procedure
- Weight loss occurs over a 18 months period
- Although weight loss with gastric bypass procedure is quicker but majority of weight loss only occurs within the first 12 months.
- Weight loss with lap band procedure is gradual & requires support of major lifestyle changes to be successful. Moreover, majority of weight loss is found to occur over a period of 3 years.
Recovery Following Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Patients will wake up in a hospital following gastric sleeve operation. They will feel a bit groggy & without much pain. This procedure is usually performed under the influence of excellent pain medication & most patients, in fact, feel much happy knowing that surgery is done & they feel safe.
On the first day pain is typically moderate. However, patients will still have IV line in arm & therefore it would be easy to administer pain medication if required. Patients should therefore, make sure that they convey to the nurse or surgeon as to what they require since different individuals respond differently to pain & medications. Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery patients will usually have 5 – 6 small size incisions on abdomen & which will be sutured & properly covered so as to heal. The incision which typically causes most pain is the incision from where the bariatric surgeon removes the large cut portion of the stomach. This incision is normally located on the lower left quadrant of the abdomen. It is the largest incision mostly located on the right side. At this point of time patients would be laying in hospital bed feeling a general source of soreness across the abdomen. They may also experience general nausea due to anesthesia but this is usually found to quickly improve.
There will be no intake of any food or drink from mouth at this point of time. However, some bariatric surgeons allow gastric sleeve surgery patients to have mouth swabs while others permit a cup of ice every few hours. The patient would probably feel a bit dehydrated & wanting to drink some water, but they will most likely not be able to do this until the following day. Their throat will also be sore & swollen from the ET breathing tube which was inserted during surgery & therefore it may not also be pleasant to eat or drink something at this point of time. Moreover, they would also be exhausted & may be worrying because they are hungry. However, since large portion of their stomach producing hunger causing hormone ghrelin has been removed, they urge to eat now may be controllable.
The bariatric surgeon may actually want the gastric sleeve surgery patient to be up & walking. This will also reduce pain which can result from carbon dioxide which was used during the laparoscopic operation. Patients would most probably be lying on the hospital bed with a slight incline if they were not walking. However, getting out of bed on the first day may be difficult since may be more like exercising a sore muscle & may even be hurtful. However, coming out of bed & walking on the following day may make the gastric sleeve surgery patient feel much better.
The first day after gastric sleeve surgery will be filled with a variety of emotions since the patient has undergone a complete & permanent change for the rest of their lives. Moreover, food has been a companion, a lifelong friend & stress reliever, but not anymore. Most patients would in fact wonder asking themselves, ‘What have I done to myself?’ or ‘Did I do the right thing?’
The worst is over & things generally will start getting better for the gastric sleeve surgery patient from here on. They are likely to be surrounded by loving & well meaning but completely bewildered family members who may have trouble understanding the patients’ predicament, unless they have themselves undergone weight loss surgery in the past. It would nevertheless be good to have them during discharge planning, dietician visits anyway. They will be helpful in absorbing part of the physical & mental stress which may take its toll on the patient. Between 2 – 4 weeks of time the gastric sleeve surgery patient will be back at work & would have already lost a good amount of weight. Most people would feel lighter & encouraged by their weight loss, while some may still feel a bit tired. Some may even have more energy than they did before undergoing this weight loss surgery. Due to the newly established disconnect from food, some gastric sleeve surgery patients may require additional support at this point of time as their moods are also likely to go up & down. This is why it may sometimes be important that they join some forums where they can meet friends who have undergone similar weight loss procedures & discuss their experiences.
Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Surgery Success Rates
Diet & exercise go hand in hand with weight loss for gastric sleeve surgery patients since the surgical intervention is merely a tool to make it possible. Many patients have immensely benefited by utilizing this tool the right way while some patients have struggled & blamed the process to be defective. However, patients who ended up blaming the gastric sleeve surgery were those who did not understand the procedure & thought that the operation was a quick fix solution. Moreover, they were unable to commit to ‘complete & permanent lifestyle change’ mindset which is so essential to any type of bariatric surgery weight loss procedure.
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