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Weight Loss With The Gastric Sleeve – The Benefits, Risks and Expected Results

The Gastric Sleeve is one of the most popular weight loss surgery options due to it being very safe and low risk while still offering significant weight loss. Many individuals struggle to lose weight through diet and exercise alone so for those individuals, bariatric surgery, such as gastric sleeve surgery, may be a viable option. 

Below are all the benefits, risks and results you can expect with the gastric sleeve to give you a clear insight into this procedure. 

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure

During gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen and uses a laparoscope (a small camera) to guide the surgery. The surgeon will then work to remove about 80% of your stomach, leaving a long, narrow tube or sleeve-shaped stomach. 

The surgery will only leave small scars, which tend to fade over time, and usually takes 1-2 hours under general anaesthesia to be performed. Most patients can go home the next day if they feel comfortable enough to do so. 

Benefits of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Weight loss is the most significant benefit of gastric sleeve surgery. Patients typically lose 50-70% of their excess weight within the first year. For example, if someone weighs 300 pounds (roughly 21 stone) and their ideal weight is 150 pounds, they have 150 pounds of excess weight. If they lose 50% of their excess weight, they will lose 75 pounds (or roughly 5 stone) in the first year. 

Weight loss following gastric sleeve surgery can positively affect your health. Lowering body weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Furthermore, patients with sleep apnoea often see significant symptom improvements after weight loss surgery. Reducing or sometimes even eliminating these issues can mean you can take less medication daily and your life span is increased due to a lower risk factor from having no comorbidities.  

Perhaps the biggest reason to have the gastric sleeve is that it completely improves your quality of life. Over time patients reported feeling more confident and having an improved self-image after surgery, as they can finally do things they never imagined. This includes buying clothes from a regular clothing store, comfortably fitting into an aeroplane seat and having less joint pain which allows them to participate in physical activities more easily.  

Of course, physical, and mental health work hand in hand so if your body is healthier, you can do more to nourish your mind which in turn gives you a positive attitude to continue your weight loss journey. The cycle continues, all the while leading you to a happier and healthier life.  

Risks of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with gastric sleeve surgery. Potential complications include: 

  • Haemorrhage (bleeding)  
  • Leaks from staple lines leading to infection  
  • Adverse reactions to anaesthesia and/or medication  
  • Blood clots (Deep vein thrombosis in the legs / pulmonary embolus on the lungs)  
  • Longer term, potential nutritional deficiency  
  • Marginal ulcer  
  • Narrowing of the stomach 

Most patients do not experience these complications. The procedure is very safe and in the hand of our experienced surgeons, the operation itself is technically very simple as it does not involve any cutting or joining of the bowel, unlike some other weight loss procedures such as the gastric bypass. 

 The low rate of early complications is between 3 – 5% (3:100 to 5:100) and in the low mortality rate is between 0.1 – 0.5% (1 in 1000 to 5 in 1000).  However, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with a healthcare provider before making a decision. 

Expected Results of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Patients can expect to lose weight quite quickly for the first 6-12 months post-surgery, meaning they can lose over half their excess weight (explained earlier in this blog) before reaching a steadier weight loss pattern after 12 months. Weight loss may continue for up to two years after surgery however, it is important to note that the amount of weight loss varies from patient to patient. In addition, patients who do not follow recommended lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet ( Sleeve diet ) and exercise, may experience less weight loss or regain the weight. Remember, weight loss surgery is a tool you need to work with, not a complete fix.  

The amount of weight loss depends on several factors, including the patient’s starting weight, age, gender, and overall health. Patients who begin with a higher BMI (body mass index) tend to lose more weight than those with a lower BMI. It is essential to set realistic weight loss goals and to have regular follow-up appointments with our aftercare team at Healthier Weight to monitor your progress and to ensure you are supplying your body with the correct nutrients while developing a healthier relationship with food.  

In conclusion…

If you are struggling with your weight loss and feel you have tried everything, gastric sleeve surgery may be for you! It can be a very effective option for those struggling with obesity and can lead to significant weight loss, improved health outcomes, and a higher quality of life. However, as with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of gastric sleeve surgery with a qualified healthcare provider to determine if it is the right option for them. With proper planning and follow-up care, gastric sleeve surgery can be a valuable tool for achieving sustainable weight loss and improving overall health. 

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