Gastric sleeve surgery is an obvious and easy choice for those looking for a solution to their personal obesity. It's a choice made after failed attempts at just about every other option. It is not without pain or risk, but it can mean a much better future for the patient – given that the average weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery is 60% of the excess weight.
How It Works
During surgery, about 85% of the stomach is removed. This creates a tubular or sleeve-like stomach with a capacity of 60 to 150 cc. The stomach is reduced, but it keeps functioning as before surgery. Any weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery is better than no weight loss at all. But, you still need to work on long-term lifestyle changes.
A 100- pound weight loss can be expected. And, once you are comfortable enough to move, you can expect the weight loss to continue and increase over a 12-18 month period. This is different for every one, but such results are not unreasonable.
Eating Once Again
The upside is that there are few restrictions on food selections after gastric sleeve surgery. The downside is that, with only half the stomach remaining, some of the nutrition absorbed by the stomach and of the hormones produced in the stomach disappear.
You must eat as your doctor suggests. It is a process. After all, you had a flock of health problems going into the surgery. Among the things you need to do is to learn to eat all over again:
- Eat liquids only – juices, Jell-O, broth, flat soda – for the first week.
- Add soft and pureed foods – baby food or smoothies – over the next two weeks.
- Start solid foods – avoiding spices and heavy fats – in small portions in the fourth week.
Make permanent changes in your eating habits – and stick to the plan.
- Eat slowly from small dinnerware.
- Choose small portions with small utensils.
- Chew thoroughly.
- Swallow only after food is softened with chewing.
- Avoid drinking while eating.
Unless you follow the plan, you risk undoing the surgery by pulling at the staples. The healing should be complete in six weeks, so do not risk the damage.
Nutrition and Exercise
- Because you do not eat as much as you did before, you need to replace the diminished nutrition. You can do this easily with a daily multi-vitamin, vitamins B and D, calcium, iron, and folic acid supplements. Follow the dietician's advice.
- Once your surgeon clears you, begin an exercise plan. With your "new" body, you should have more energy and less body fat. Continue to work on keeping the body fat percentage low.
- Unless you commit to the new lifestyle, you risk returning to the same bad habits and poor overall health.
No more than 10% experience minor complications, and fewer than 5% serious problems. Working with your surgical team for the first months assures you the right care.
- Infection at the surgical site will be red and warm.
- Constipation is inevitable and easily remedied with over-the-counter laxatives, such as psyllium.
- Blood in the stool is serious enough to take you to the emergency room.
- Abdominal pain may mean internal injury and should be treated immediately.
- Gall stones are not uncommon in as many as 50% of the patients. Seek your doctor's advice.
- Dumping syndrome includes nausea, vomiting, and weakness. The patient "crashes" after eating high-sugar content. occurs after eating high-sugar meals after weight loss surgery.
- Excess skin may need to be removed – requiring additional surgery – after rapid weight loss.
Weight loss surgery should free you of the burdens of obesity. The risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, and such should decline in direct proportion to the weight loss.
But, it sometimes is the case that the weight loss – and its benefits – is only temporary because, for whatever reason, the patient does not follow the post-surgery guidelines.
- Exercise regularly. You should find it less taxing, but it is still a psychological shift toward self-reliance and self- responsibility. You need to seek advice on a specific exercise routine adapted to your health problems. Sticking to it is your character issue.
- Avoid foods, such as carbonated beverages and spicy foods, that will stretch, bloat, or irritate your stomach.
- Because nutrition takes on a new problem, eat to replace the nutrition that might be lost. Favor foods with the missing elements and vitamins. You need to find the right balance of fiber to avoid or reduce constipation.
- Seek counseling and/or discussion forums in which other post-surgical patients share successes and failures. Their first hand experiences can help your mind set.
In most cases, there is no reason to avoid surgery, but candidates need to grasp and accept what follows after gastric sleeve surgery. The rewards outweigh the risks and problems.
About The Author
Jamie Eberle is the Chief Financial Officer of BeLiteWeight. BeLiteWeight has helped over 7,000 patients have safe, affordable and successful weight loss surgery over the past eight years. Jamie has had bariatric surgery and knows the ins and outs of the different procedures, including:gastric sleeve surgery , gastric sleeve plication, vertical sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery, among others. BeLiteWeight focuses on each patient's needs to help them choose the right procedure and get started on the path to a healthier life.