Nearly 40 percent of adults 20 years and older in the United States are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines “obese” as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. If you’ve been struggling with weight loss without success, surgery may be a solution worth considering. One such procedure is a gastric sleeve procedure.
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Performed either as an open procedure or with minimally invasive techniques, gastric sleeve surgery involves the removal of about half of the stomach. A thin, vertical sleeve about the size of a banana will remain.
How Do You Prepare for It?
Gastric sleeve surgery is a permanent weight loss solution. You may be asked to start your weight loss efforts prior to the procedure. Doing so may further minimize any risks while also getting you used to some of the new eating habits you’ll need to adopt after the surgery.
What Happens After Surgery?
As you transition to diet that includes a mix of liquids and solid foods, you’ll notice that you get fuller sooner. You will be given post-surgery care instructions on how to bathe and directions on what you may safely eat. You may want to arrange for some assistance around your home as you recover to avoid excessive strain.
How Do You Eat After Surgery?
You will start with a liquid diet before incorporating other foods into your diet. Since you will be taking in less food, you’ll need to adopt a diet that’s rich in nutritious foods, such as green, leafy vegetables, bright-colored fruits, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats. Some patients have more success making dietary changes when working with a dietician.
Are Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Necessary?
Even when a healthy diet is followed, many patients will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements. The reason for this is to compensate for the loss of absorption from the foods you eat due to having a smaller stomach.
Why Consider Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery should not be your first attempt to lose weight. The procedure is worth considering if you’ve reached a point where you are not seeing meaningful results from other efforts to diet and exercise. Realize it is not an instant fix and will involve a serious commitment on your part. However, you will have access to support before and after the procedure.
Who is an Ideal Candidate?
In order to considered for gastric sleeve surgery, you must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. You may also be considered if you have a BMI of 35 or more coupled with a condition that’s likely to improve with significant weight loss, such as type 2 diabetes.
Weight loss from procedures like gastric sleeve surgery averages about 60-65 percent for many patients, as long as there is a commitment to dietary and other lifestyle adjustments—although results can vary. During your initial evaluation, you’ll undergo a physical exam and discuss your long-term weight loss goals. Most people return to their normal routine about 4-6 weeks after the procedure.