In recent years, the gastric sleeve procedure has risen in popularity. It’s a successor to the gastric bypass, which is performed slightly differently and is a more complicated and expensive procedure. Patients have found that the gastric sleeve procedure is an excellent way to lose weight very quickly. In fact, a patient can expect to lose between 50-60% of their excess weight in the first year after surgery.
So what is the gastric sleeve, and what do you need to know about it?
What Is The Gastric Sleeve?
Sleeve gastrectomy, most commonly known as the gastric sleeve, is a permanent bariatric procedure that serves as an alternative to the gastric bypass. The gastric sleeve procedure has become much more popular in recent years thanks to its effectiveness and its lower cost compared to gastric bypass.
The way it works is that the stomach is reshaped into the shape of a sleeve. About 80% of the stomach is removed during this procedure, leaving about 2 fl oz. (60 mL) of total stomach volume. Unlike the gastric bypass, the gastric sleeve does not require rerouting the intestine.
This procedure restricts food intake by reducing the size of the stomach, but it also lowers hunger response because during the procedure, a part of the stomach is removed that is responsible for producing ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger, and less of it means that the patient will feel less hungry and thus less motivated to eat.
What Are The Gastric Sleeve Requirements?
Gastric sleeve qualifications are the same as those of gastric bypass. In order to qualify for gastric sleeve surgery, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have a BMI of 40 or above;
- Have a BMI of 35 or above IN ADDITION to one or more of the following weight-related health conditions: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pain;
- Have a documented history of unsuccessfully trying to lose weight through diet and exercise
If you meet these requirements, you qualify for gastric sleeve surgery.
What Is Recovery From Gastric Sleeve Like?
Recovery from gastric sleeve takes about 2 to 4 weeks. Patients generally spend one night in hospital, and some patients are able to be discharged the same day. Your doctor will ask you to refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least two weeks while you recover.
During this recovery, patients are put on a post-op diet that happens in stages. The first stage is a clear liquid fast, restricting food intake to water, broth, and electrolyte beverages. The second stage reintroduces pureed foods and protein shakes into the diet. In the third stage, patients can consume soft foods like scrambled eggs, ground beef, and mashed potatoes (among other foods). The final stage allows the patient to start reintroducing all foods back into their diet.
Common side effects during recovery are abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and a disinterest in food. However, patients are asked to meet their hydration and protein goals while also consuming a small amount of food throughout the day.
Although overeating is very difficult for patients after bariatric surgery, it can still happen particularly after some time has passed. Learn more about how to avoid overeating after gastric bypass and gastric sleeve!