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Gastric bypass surgery

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Among the many types of weight loss surgery that have been practiced in recent years, gastric sleeve surgery is the latest technique and has emerged as one of the safest and most popular. In this procedure, also called laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, sleeve gastrectomy, tube gastrectomy, and vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a bariatric surgeon will remove up to 85 percent of the stomach so that the remaining stomach becomes sleeve- or tube-shaped. It is a simpler operation than lap band surgery or gastric bypass and does not rely on implants, adjustments or fills. It requires removal of the left side of the stomach but does not involve any rearrangement of intestines. The remaining stomach is sealed with staples.

Who is suitable for Gastric Sleeve surgery?

Patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 are suitable for Gastric Sleeve surgery. This is the equivalent of being about 45kg overweight for men and 35 kg overweight for women. People with lower BMIs may also be suitable for weight loss surgery if they have obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure:

A non-reversible procedure, gastric sleeve surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about one to two hours.  Post-surgery hospital stay is about 3 nights; recovery from gastric sleeve surgery normally takes 1-2 weeks. The abdomen is often swollen and sore for several days. You may be prescribed pain medication for the discomfort. Following surgery, you will need to become re-accustomed to eating solid foods. This could mean dietary restrictions for a short time.

Gastric sleeve surgery leads to weight loss of 50 to 80 percent over the first six months to one year after surgery. Surgery often leads to improvement in diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea within one to two years.

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After the Procedure

Most people stay in the hospital for 1 to 4 days after surgery.

In the hospital:

  • You will be asked to sit on the side of the bed and walk a little on the same day you have surgery.
  • You may have a (tube) catheter that goes through your nose into your stomach for 1 or 2 days. This tube helps drain fluids from your intestine.
  • You may have a catheter in your bladder to remove urine.
  • You will not be able to eat for the first 1 to 3 days. After that, you can have liquids and then pureed or soft foods.
  • You may have a tube connected to the larger part of your stomach that was bypassed. The catheter will come out of your side and will drain fluids.
  • You will wear special stockings on your legs to help prevent blood clots from forming.
  • You will receive shots of medicine to prevent blood clots.
  • You will receive pain medicine. You will take pills for pain or receive pain medicine through an IV, a catheter that goes into your vein.

You will be able to go home when:

  • You can eat liquid or pureed food without vomiting.
  • You can move around without a lot of pain.
  • You do not need pain medicine through an IV or given by shot.

Be sure to follow instructions for how to care for yourself at home.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people lose about 10 to 20 pounds a month in the first year after surgery. Weight loss will decrease over time. By sticking to your diet and exercise from the beginning, you lose more weight.

You may lose half or more of your extra weight in the first 2 years. You will lose weight quickly after surgery if you are still on a liquid or pureed diet.

Losing enough weight after surgery can improve many medical conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes

Weighing less should also make it much easier for you to move around and do your everyday activities.

To lose weight and avoid complications from the procedure, you will need to follow the exercise and eating guidelines that your doctor and dietitian have given you.

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