What Is a Sleeve Gastrectomy? Here’s What to Expect!

Unlike a lap band, gastric sleeve surgery is a quick and low maintenance way to lose weight. If you want to find out more about what a sleeve gastrectomy is, read this guide.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people undergo weight loss surgery. If you’re considering this option, it’s important to know that you have options when it comes to the type of procedure you receive.

One of the most common forms of weight loss surgery is a sleeve gastrectomy, which makes up about 60 percent of all procedures.

Read on to learn more about this procedure and what to expect during recovery.

What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

This procedure involves permanently reducing the size of the stomach. When the surgery is finished, the stomach is about 15-25 percent of its original size.

How Does it Differ from Gastric Bypass?

This procedure is much simpler than gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass surgery requires a surgeon to actually rearrange the stomach and small intestine.

During a sleeve gastrectomy, though, the intestines are left alone and only the stomach is resized.

Because the procedure is simpler, sleeve gastrectomies tend to come with fewer complication rates than gastric bypass surgeries.

How Effective is it?

On average, patients who undergo this surgery lose approximately 65 percent of excess body weight. As a result, they can reduce their risk of obesity-related diseases like diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.

Some weight regain is common after surgery. But, most people successfully keep at least 50 percent of their excess weight off long-term.

What to Expect from the Surgery

For two weeks prior to your surgery, you’ll have to follow a strict pre-op diet. Some basic guidelines of this diet include:

  • Increase protein consumption
  • Decrease carbohydrate consumption
  • Eliminate added sugar (from soda, candy, juice, desserts, etc.)

Following this diet will help you lower your complication risk.

The actual surgery only takes about an hour to complete. About five hours after your surgery, you’ll be asked to stand up and take a few steps. This reduces the risk of blood clots and can help alleviate pain associated with the procedure.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Most people stay in the hospital for 1-2 days after their surgery. You’ll be prescribed pain medications to help you feel more comfortable during the recovery process.

The recovery process lasts for several weeks. Most people are able to return to work after 2-4 weeks of rest. They typically return to all regular activities within 4-6 weeks.

Some guidelines to follow to promote a faster, simpler recovery include:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Use pain medications as needed
  • Walk regularly to speed healing and help you get into the habit of exercising regularly
  • Avoid heavy lifting as this can put pressure on stitches
  • For the first 3 weeks, don’t sit in a bath or hot tub

If you notice any signs of infection (fever, pain that doesn’t get better with medication, persistent nausea, inability to swallow, redness or pus at the incision site), call the emergency room immediately.

Common Issues People Experience During Recovery

There are several common issues that people experience while they’re recovering from surgery, including the following:

  • Food sensitivities
  • Acid reflux
  • Constipation and/or loose stools
  • Fatigue

With proper rest and treatment, these issues typically get better as your recovery continues.

Is a Sleeve Gastrectomy Right for You?

After learning more about the procedure, do you think a sleeve gastrectomy is the right weight loss option for you? Do you have more questions about what to expect from the surgery?

Contact us at TrueSelf Surgical today for a consultation. We’ll answer all your questions and help you decide whether or not you can benefit from this procedure.