What Is Sleeve Gastrectomy?
A sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeve surgery or bariatric surgery, is used to help people who are suffering from significant problems controlling their weight or eating patterns.
In a sleeve gastrectomy procedure, the overall size of the stomach is reduced through a number of small incisions in the stomach. The stomach is reshaped so about 75% of its tissue is removed. This leaves a much more narrow “gastric sleeve” that helps control the size of portions that can be eaten.
Who Makes a Good Candidate for Sleeve Gastrectomy?
Candidates for a gastric sleeve are generally considered “clinically obese” according to accepted measures for a healthy weight.
In most cases, a prospective patient has a Body Mass Index between 30 and 40 or is facing specific issues that require rapid weight loss, such as difficulty with the use of anesthesia caused by weight.
A candidate usually needs to demonstrate a documented history of weight loss efforts under medical supervision before the procedure can be done.
Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy
By reducing the total size of the stomach, sleeve gastrectomy will allow the patient to feel sated after eating a much smaller amount of food than before. Although it may take some time for eating patterns to adjust, most patients report reduced food cravings and more manageable appetite.
Although sleeve gastrectomy does not have a direct effect on weight, it helps most patients to achieve appreciable reductions in their weight over time. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis, it can be a powerful asset for long-term weight management.
The Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure
The sleeve gastrectomy procedure uses a laparoscope, a tiny camera that can be inserted into the body to guide certain surgical procedures. This makes the process more precise, reducing the odds of any complications.
To begin, a number of incisions are made in the stomach. Although the number does vary, anywhere from 4-6 is common. Once the incisions are made, specialized surgical implements can be inserted through the incisions to excise tissue from the stomach and reshape it into the characteristic “sleeve.”
The procedure typically takes two hours or less to complete.
The incisions used in sleeve gastrectomy are as small as possible in order to accelerate recovery time and reduce scarring. However, the patient should expect some localized pain and soreness in the incision areas for a few weeks after the procedure. It is also necessary to avoid vigorous exercise.
Most people need only 2-3 days of recovery time before they can move around and perform many basic tasks as they normally would. Most symptoms related to the surgery subside in 2-3 weeks under ideal circumstances, but it takes about six weeks for the stomach to heal completely.
You will be furnished with instructions for eating to follow throughout the phases of recovery. A liquid-only diet is common for the first week, while soft foods are consumed during weeks 2 and 3. You begin consuming a wider variety of food after that and soon grow familiar with your new stomach capacity.
There is a small risk of bleeding or infection, although risks are significantly lower than the more well-known gastric band procedure. If you experience unexplained pain or other symptoms in the weeks following your surgery, you should seek medical attention promptly.
At the Weight Loss and Wellness Centers, we can help you reach your goals with a sleeve gastrectomy process that’s faster and more comfortable than you ever thought possible. To learn more, contact us today.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.