Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Q&A

Who is a good candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Not all overweight people qualify for the gastric sleeve. There are some criteria that must be fulfilled before a patient is approved for surgery. Generally, weight loss gastric sleeve surgery is indicated for morbidly obese adults — that is, people between 18 and 65 with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. For a person standing 5-foot-9, that equates to a body weight of 270.

People with a body-mass index of 35 — 235 pounds for a 5-foot-9-inch adult — can also qualify. Usually, this requires at least one additional health problem related to obesity. Some common weight-related health conditions include diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, asthma and joint pain.

For more information call our NJ weight loss center to schedule a consultation with our bariatric surgery doctors in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. We perform hundreds of minimally invasive gastric sleeve surgery procedures every year and our complication rates are among the lowest in the Northeast.

How long does it take to recovery from Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

As a guideline, laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery and sleeve surgery patients have about a 2-3 week recovery period, (although some can take as long as 6 weeks) before they can return to work.

Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery dangerous?

Bleeding, infection, and blood clots in your legs are possible side effects that may occur after any surgery. General anesthesia may also cause breathing problems or other reactions.

Over time, you may also have some trouble absorbing certain nutrients. Or you may develop a narrowing (stricture) in your stomach sleeve. Some people may have heartburn or reflux after the surgery. If you already have moderate to severe reflux, a gastric sleeve could make that worse. You may want to consider a gastric bypass surgery instead. That type of surgery can stop reflux and heartburn.

You may have other risks based on your health. Make sure to talk with your healthcare team about any concerns before the surgery.

Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery painful?

During and after surgery there is little to no pain as a result of anesthesia and pain medications. After Day 1 of recovery is when pain is typically more noticeable. The anesthesia has worn off, and while your pain medications are working, you’re also moving a bit more. When you turn your trunk, pain is evident. Fortunately, pain should be bearable. After Day 2 pain is still bearable for most people. Patients often experience the most pain between days 3 and day 6. Pain during days 3 to 6 is common because you are up on your feet more, turning your trunk more, and generally more active than before. After Week 1, you may still experience pain, but pain should be manageable with simple over the counter medications.

How quickly will I start to lose weight after Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Weight loss is one of the goals of bariatric surgery. The amount of weight loss will depend on the person and the procedure. But it tends to be rapid in the first few months. During the first 30 days after bariatric surgery, the average weight loss is 5 to 15 pounds per week. Men tend to lose weight at a faster pace than women. By two months, most people average a 20% loss of excess weight.

How long after Gastric Sleeve Surgery can I eat ‘regular’ food?

After six weeks you should be able to resume a normal solid food diet. Your gastric sleeve will allow you to eat almost any type or texture of food. You should aim for three well balanced meals each day.

Will I feel hungry after Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Managing hunger after weight-loss surgery is one of the most daunting parts of post-bariatric life. In almost every case, except some gastric sleeve post-ops, patients may still feel hungry even if they are full after a meal. This arises because, while the stomach is smaller, the brain may still be used to the patient’s past lifestyle and diet.

This hunger, especially in the first few months after surgery, can make it very difficult to stick to the post bariatric diet and can be a nagging reminder of the lifestyle and diet challenges after weight loss surgery.

The gastric sleeve is slightly different however, because part of the stomach is cut away and removed from the abdomen. The fundus, which produces hunger causing hormone ghrelin, is removed along with the stomach. This causes significantly reduced hunger sensation in many patients.

What is the 5-day pouch test?

In 2007, Kaye Bailey developed what is called the 5-day Pouch Test. Kaye had gastric bypass surgery, but seven years after her surgery, she started to regain s weight. Her doctor suggested she get back to the basics. Following, her doctors order, the 5-day pouch test was born.

The 5-day pouch test returns the patient to the post-op liquid phase, required in the first few days after surgery. She recommends you progress slowly from liquids to pureed protein, to soft protein, to firm protein, then to solid protein in a period of 5 days. Following this, you are supposed to feel a renewed sense of self. With this pouch test, Kaye believes that over the course of five days, our bodies are gently able to transition from simple carbs and snacks, to the WLS high protein diet supported with complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruit, and grains.


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