If you’ve been thinking about weight loss surgery, you may have heard of a procedure called Gastric Bypass.

But have you heard about gastric sleeve surgery?

If you were unaware of this option, you’re not alone. Below, we’ll learn about this surgery, including the procedure, possible complications, and the differences from gastric bypass, in this comprehensive guide to gastric sleeve surgery.

What Is a Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure? 7 Facts and Considerations

This surgery can help you lose weight by drastically decreasing the size of your stomach.

But how exactly does it work? What are the possible complications? Here are 7 facts to help you learn more about this procedure so that you can make an informed decision.

1. Gastric Sleeve Surgery Isn’t Any More Invasive Than Gastric Bypass

If you’re worried about the invasiveness of Bariatric surgery, there’s good news: Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass are about equally invasive.

This is because surgeons will not cut open your abdomen during the procedure to access your stomach. Instead, they’ll complete the surgery with a tool called a laparoscope, which requires only a few small incisions.

A laparoscope is a slender tool with a camera attached, so surgeons can see inside your abdomen via a screen – without opening you up. Because this is less invasive than open abdominal surgery, you’ll recover quicker and feel less pain afterward.

2. This Gastric Procedure Is Best for People with a BMI Over 40

In general, this type of surgery is recommended for people who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 40. This usually means you’re at least 100 pounds overweight.

This surgery is also a good option for people who have been deemed too heavy for gastric bypass, according to WebMD.

3. During Sleeve Surgery, Surgeons Remove a Portion of Your Stomach

This type of surgery, also called VSG surgery, involves removing a portion of your stomach so it’s about 3/4 of its total size. The remaining part is banana-shaped and is called a “sleeve.”

This drastic reduction in your stomach size will force you to significantly decrease the amount of food you eat. For most people, this also means they’ll lose a lot of weight.

4. After Surgery, You Need to Follow a Liquid Diet for a Few Weeks

Right after your surgery, you need to stay on a liquid diet:

  • For the first day or so – you’ll need to stick with clear liquids.
  • After that, and for up to 3 weeks, you’ll eat only protein shakes and foods that have been pureed.
  • Next, you can move onto soft solid foods. You’ll eat this diet for a few weeks, and then you’ll be able to eat regular food once again.

5. You Must Permanently Change Your Eating Habits after Surgery

Once you start eating regularly again after your surgery, your eating habits will still look vastly different from the way you ate before.

For starters, you’ll have to start maintaining strict portion control. If you eat too much or eat a food your body isn’t ready for, you will cause complications like vomiting, discomfort, and nausea.

The good news: Since eating too much will cause so much stress on your body, you may find yourself naturally switching to smaller portions and being more careful about what you eat.

6. Complications May Include Digestive Issues, Loose Skin, or Vitamin Deficiencies

Along with digestive issues from eating too much or eating the wrong foods too soon (including vomiting, diarrhea, acid reflux, cramps, and nausea), other complications can occur.

For example, eating a nutritious diet becomes more important than ever after gastric sleeve surgery.

Your stomach is much smaller, so it won’t be able to absorb as many nutrients as before. If you fail to eat the right foods, or even skip taking vitamins and supplements, you risk developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Another complication involved with this type of weight loss surgery has to do with the weight loss itself. You may shed pounds very quickly, and this can result in excess skin.

According to UCLA Health, other complications during or after the surgery may include blood clots and bleeding. Extremely rare complications may include leakage from the staple line and stricture, which is when the sleeve narrows abnormally.

7. Sleeve Surgery Is a Safe, Viable Weight Loss Option

Gastric sleeve is the most common type of bariatric surgery performed all over the world. For many people, it provides an answer to weight loss that reduces hunger pangs, decreases appetite, and helps improve obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.

Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery Right for You?

If you’re looking for help getting down to a healthier weight and improving your quality of life, this procedure could be the first step toward reaching your goals.

Do your research and then speak with your Doctor to find out if this is the best option for you.

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