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What Is A Sleeve Gastrectomy?

A Sleeve Gastrectomy is a surgical procedure aimed at permanently making the stomach smaller by dividing it into two separate compartments and then making the smaller compartment into a new stomach. This is in effect, just the first stage of a Gastric Bypass procedure without including, the Roux-en-Y procedure.


Why Is A Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure Performed Over A Full Bypass Procedure?

Bypass operations can be lengthy and complex procedures; for some high-risk patients with a very high BMI, it may not be suitable for them to undertake a full bypass procedure. If this is the case, then a Sleeve Gastrectomy is recommended as the first part of a two part operation, the second part typically being a future conversion to a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass around six months later.

However, some patients will lose enough weight with a sleeve Gastrectomy alone and never need to undergo a second stage operation.

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Who Will Benefit From Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?

You may be a good candidate for a Sleeve Gastrectomy if you know you are not particularly well disciplined and find commitment to weight loss a significant challenge.

Because of the permanent and life changing nature of this surgery, patients will need to meet strict selection criteria before they can be considered for this procedure; they are as follows:

  • Patients must have a significant history and long-term experience of diet failures
  • Patients must demonstrate a genuine desire to overcome their obesity problems
  • Patients must make a full commitment to finally getting their weight under control and for the significant diet related changes that will be necessary following surgery
  • Patients must become well educated about their condition and fully understand both the benefits and the risks of the weight loss surgery they are considering
  • Patients must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 to 39 with other obesity related health problems
  • Or, patients must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above

How Is A Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure Performed?

This operation reduces the stomach by around 75%. The stomach is divided vertically from bottom to top, which, although making the stomach smaller, will not alter its function. This allows a patient to eat much smaller meals but to still feel full for longer on those smaller meals. In addition the portion of the stomach that is removed contains cells that make one of the main hormones that drive appetite, Ghrelin. Following a sleeve gastrectomy Ghrelin levels are lower.

What Is The Recovery Like?

Once a patient is fully recovered from the effects of anaesthetic they are normally encouraged to be mobile as soon as possible after surgery to avoid complications such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clots in the legs) from developing. Patients will be on fluids only throughout their hospital recovery and their abdomen will feel bruised and uncomfortable, although any discomfort will be controlled with medication.

Patients are normally discharged home 5-7 days after surgery. Following discharge, patients are strongly advised to stay gently mobile at home, but to avoid any level of activity that would put undue strain on their operation site.

Patients will be advised to take a specific amount of recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of work they do, but it is usual to take around two weeks off and to refrain from any strenuous exercise for at least 8 weeks.

Patients are discharged with strict meal planning advice, but in the first weeks after surgery the majority of patients will be unable to tolerate anything other than a very light and soft diet in very small volume. Gradually the ability for patients to tolerate most types of food will improve, although the volume of food they are able to consume in one intake will be substantially and permanently reduced.

Patients will be well supported throughout their recovery by a specialist dietician, who will guide patients through the changes to their diet that will be necessary through the rest of their life.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?

All surgery involves an element of risk from developing complications. Risks such as bleeding, delayed healing, scarring, infection, nausea and vomiting, bowel perforation or leakage will all be discussed openly at consultation with your surgeon, as well as his scrupulous efforts to manage and minimise these risks to their lowest potential.

Smoking will adversely affect wound healing and smokers may be precluded from having this type of surgery as a result.

Although Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery is regularly performed without any complications, all surgery, no mater how expertly or carefully it is performed, carries risks. The importance of a full evaluation and consultation to discuss your understanding and expectations in relation to these risks cannot therefore be over emphasised.

How Do I Find Out If I Am A Suitable Candidate For Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?

If you wish to find out if you are a suitable candidate for Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery, your chosen surgeon will carry out a full evaluation of your individual needs and provide you with a comprehensive verbal and written explanation of any recommended treatment or surgery.

At the East Midlands Bariatric Unit we understand the importance of the weight loss surgery you are contemplating and throughout your consultation you will be encouraged to ask as many questions as you wish and to take your time in making a decision to proceed with any treatment or not.

How Do I Make A Consultation Appointment?

If you would like to find out more about Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery and discover if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure, please telephone or email the Easy Midlands Bariatric Unit to organise a consultation appointment