The Truth About Sleeve Gastrectomy: FAQs That You Should Know About

First Posted: Nov 09, 2021 10:17 AM EST
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The Truth About Sleeve Gastrectomy: FAQs That You Should Know About

(Photo : Photo by Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash)

Contrary to common belief, weight loss isn't just simply achieved by self-will. In fact, it is even harder to lose body weight for people classified as morbidly obese, even more so for people who have existing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. This is because they have to be more careful about what they eat to avoid worsening their health problems.

In such cases, doctors usually recommend that the patient will undergo bariatric surgery. This procedure is a type of surgery that promotes weight loss by removing approximately 80% of the stomach. One type of bariatric procedure is gastric sleeve surgery, otherwise known as sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure has been quite the buzz among the healthcare field lately.

But what does the procedure entail? Why does one need this operation? Who is qualified to undergo this procedure? What are the possible complications? And what can one expect from postoperative recovery? These are just among the frequently asked questions about sleeve gastrectomy that will be explored in this article. Read on to learn more!

 

What is Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Sometimes called vertical sleeve gastrectomy, this surgical weight loss procedure removes about 75% to 80% of the stomach. The remaining part of the stomach is formed into a tube-like shape that resembles a banana. Doing so helps reduce the amount of food intake that one can consume because the smaller stomach cannot hold many solids.

This bariatric surgical procedure is now considered one of the most effective and reliable treatments for morbid obesity. In fact, it is now being made available in every state worldwide, where health professionals undergo extensive training to provide their patients with the best possible care. For instance, if you're situated in Western Australia, you can get a Gastric sleeve surgery in Perth and work with their team of healthcare experts.

 

Who's a good candidate, and why is it done?

The indications that one qualifies for sleeve gastrectomy are usually based on their body mass index and underlying conditions. Most people who undergo this treatment are classified as extremely obese. In other words, they have a BMI of 40 or higher. However, there are also instances where people with a BMI of 35 to 39.9 may be qualified to go through this procedure, particularly if they have serious health problems related to weight.

Sleeve gastrectomy is done to help one lose excess weight effectively, especially after trying changes in diet and physical activity engagement. Excess weight increases the risk of developing non-communicable diseases. That is why those qualified for sleeve gastrectomy prefer to undergo the procedure to help them manage obesity-related medical conditions.

 

What are the contraindications?

It is essential to remember that the operation isn't for everyone. There are medical guidelines set to determine whether one qualifies or not. In line with this, there will be an extensive screening process to ensure that it is safe to proceed with the weight-loss surgery. Most of the time, those who have severe diseases should not have this operation.

Several contraindications include:

●     Severe heart failure.

●     End-stage lung disease.

●     Drug/alcohol dependency.

●     Currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Other times, sleeve gastrectomy is not advised for those who have intellectual disabilities. Furthermore, this procedure is recommended only after one has tried to lose weight through physical activity and dietary changes, yet no significant weight loss is achieved.

 

What are the possible complications?

Just like any other surgical procedure, sleeve gastrectomy is also not without risks and complications. These potential health risks may occur during the surgery, after 1 to 2 days, or even years after undergoing the procedure. Complications associated with surgical procedures include bowel injury, adverse reactions to anesthesia, organ, and major blood vessel damage that may lead to excessive bleeding, among others.

Meanwhile, postoperative complications are usually long-term and indicate a more serious risk. For example, one of the most common postoperative complications is an anastomotic leak, which occurs when there is leakage in the bowel or stomach into the abdomen. This is also the most dreaded complication that might happen after the surgery.

 

How to prepare for post-op recovery?

After the surgery, expect that you cannot eat for 1 to 2 days at most. This is to give time for your digestive system to heal from the surgery. Once you are allowed to take in food, you will need to follow a specific diet plan that starts with liquids and then gradually transitions from pureed food until eventually to regular solid foods.

Being well aware of what to expect after the surgery can help you better prepare for your post-op recovery. First, ensure that you care for yourself at home by getting enough sleep and avoiding strenuous activities. Also, it is crucial that you follow your dietician's instructions about your meal plan. And of course, never forget to attend your follow-up checkups to monitor your health in the first several months after surgery.

 

Takeaway

The fact that too much weight can lead to major illnesses makes it necessary to be addressed earlier. On that note, sleeve gastrectomy can be an effective treatment. Just make sure that you are well-informed about the procedure and risks if you plan to take it. The facts of the FAQs about the operation listed above may just help you with that.

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