Gastric sleeve surgery is growing in popularity among bariatric patients. It’s excellent for people who are severely obese, have suffered from common conditions as a result of their obesity, and have tried diet and exercise many times in the past with no success.
As a result, more and more people are electing to undergo gastric sleeve surgery. However, many people don’t know what to expect after the surgery. We’re here to answer common questions that people have about gastric sleeve surgery, life after gastric sleeve surgery, and what results can be expected.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Explained
What is gastric sleeve surgery? Gastric sleeve surgery is a bariatric procedure that reshapes the stomach into a sleeve-like shape. This is where the name comes from.
This reshaping removes a part of the stomach responsible for producing ghrelin, or the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry. It also restricts the size of the stomach, making it much harder to eat large portions of food. These two effects combine to result in an effective surgical intervention for weight loss.
The surgery is a laparoscopic procedure, meaning that small incisions are used to insert an instrument called a laparoscope. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to see what they need to see without making a large incision.
Gastric Sleeve Recovery
Because a large portion of the stomach has been removed, gastric sleeve patients must take some time to recover. It’s recommended to take around two weeks off of work in order to recover from the surgery, and more time is required if your job requires lifting or moving heavy objects.
Gastric sleeve patients are required to follow a strict diet regimen, planned out by the doctor to suit the individual’s dietary needs. However, for most patients, the diet looks like this:
- Phase 1, 0-3 days post-op: clear liquids only (water, decaf tea, decaf coffee)
- Phase 2: 3-14 days post-op: liquids & purees only
- Phase 3: 14-28 days post-op: soft foods & liquids only
- Phase 4: 28+ days post-op: reintroduction of solid foods
Most doctors will recommend that patients avoid fruits and vegetables with seeds or roughage until they say that it’s safe to eat them.
Life After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Bariatric surgery is meant to allow for rapid and sustained weight loss in severely obese patients. As a result, patients will not be able to go back to the same eating habits that they had when they were obese. Trying to do so, especially doing so too soon, can result in serious complications.
Gastric sleeve patients are expected to follow a strict healthy diet prescribed by the doctor, supplemented with multivitamins and protein supplements.
Most patients can expect to lose between 2-4 lbs (0.9-1.8kg) every week for about 6-12 months, with weight loss slowing down gradually until a plateau is hit. After the plateau, patients are usually recommended to add exercise to their health regimen. However, patients can exercise before the six month mark as instructed by their doctor.
The reality of gastric sleeve surgery is that sustained results heavily depend on the patient. Even though the stomach has shrunk in size, a patient must be careful to continue to eat the right foods even after recovery.
- Gastric sleeve surgery can help patients lose a significant amount of weight.
- Patients are required to eat a special post-op diet in order to recover.
- Patients are recommended to take 2 weeks off of work to recover, and should not be lifting heavy objects until a doctor says it’s ok.
- Most patients can expect to lose 2-4 lbs per week for about 6-12 months, with weight loss slowing down until it reaches a plateau.