Gastric sleeve surgery is a life-altering experience. Like most other weight-loss surgery, you must make big changes to your lifestyle and take the financial toll expected with the procedure once you decide to undergo it.
But with a proven success rate of 80-90%, you shouldn’t be too worried about it, right?
Well, that is not a straightforward question to answer.
Yes, gastric sleeve is a great weight loss surgery option for most morbid obesity patients. However, like any other procedure, there are several things to consider to determine whether the procedure and its cost are worth it or other alternatives are more viable.
What is Gastric Sleeve?
Gastric sleeve is a form of bariatric surgery where a portion of the stomach gets removed to improve eating habits and reduce weight.
Typically, the surgeon would remove about 80% of the stomach leaving behind a banana-sized stomach or “sleeve,” as otherwise known.
The effect of this procedure is that the patient feels fuller faster. Moreover, the reduced stomach size induces hormonal changes that make the patient feel hungrier slower and better manage blood sugar levels.
Who Is A Candidate?
Gastric sleeve is not recommended for anyone trying to achieve weight loss. In most cases, surgeons require you to pass the following conditions:
- BMI of 40 and above or BMI of 30 – 39 if you have an underlying health condition caused by obesity
- Age between 18 – 75
- Previously attempted other weight loss regimes such as diet and physical exercise with no long-term success
Benefits of Gastric Sleeve Beyond Weight Loss
Gastric sleeve directly benefits the patient in terms of weight loss. However, this form of bariatric surgery’s benefits also transcends the weighing scale.
Long-Term Remission for Type 2 Diabetes
Several studies have shown that bariatric surgery can lead to long-term remission of type 2 diabetes. According to the studies, bariatric surgery such as gastric sleeve allows almost all obese patients to remain free of insulin and other diabetes-related medications for at least three years after the surgery.
Relief from PCOS and Improved Fertility
According to some research, having gastric sleeve surgery during childbearing years can improve fertility. The study even reported that the risk of miscarriage reduces after one undergoes the procedure.
Furthermore, bariatric surgery, such as gastric sleeve, improves the menstrual cycle in anovulatory women.
Reduced Risk of Early Death
Undergoing gastric sleeve surgery or other weight loss surgery reduces the risk of death from obesity-related diseases such as stroke, coronary heart disease, and peripheral heart disease.
In one study, the researchers reported that the weight loss achieved by weight loss surgeries such as gastric sleeve prevented the risk of death from myocardial infarction and hypertension.
This phenomenon happens because of several factors, such as reduced cholesterol levels and blood pressure drop to normal levels or near-normal after the surgery.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Surgery, bariatric surgery such as gastric sleeve saves a lot of money in the long term.
The research notes that health care systems spend less money taking care of patients in the long term. On the other hand, the patients save money by consuming less food and taking fewer medications.
Downsides of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Gastric sleeve is not a flawless procedure. Yes, very few complications are reported with the procedure, with only one out of ten developing complications during surgery. However, there’re a couple of things that may get affected post-op.
Possible Alcohol Use Disorder
Some patients who undergo gastric sleeve develop alcohol use disorder several years after the surgery. This disorder also affects gastric bypass patients.
Current research links the development of this disorder to changes in how the body processes alcohol post-surgery. Male patients, patients with previous smoking and drinking habits, and younger patients are the most susceptible.
Possible Loss of Relationships
Gastric sleeve surgery requires drastic lifestyle changes. These will lead you to change your social habits, which may frustrate or alienate some friends.
Therefore, you might lose old friendships with people who supported your weight gain habits and develop new social circles with more health-centric individuals.
Weight loss surgery such as gastric sleeve does not solve emotional or social problems related to obesity.
Suppose you have underlying mental health issues that cause unhealthy behavior such as binge eating, leading to obesity. In that case, it is best to get help with these issues before going for gastric sleeve surgery. Otherwise, your emotional problems will persist.
Changes to Prepare For
Gastric sleeve surgery comes with massive physiological, emotional, and social changes. These are some to expect:
Hard Work to Keep Fit
Gastric sleeve surgery only works effectively when proper lifestyle changes are put in place. This means you still have to stick to a strict physical exercise regime and diet to see significant results.
New Social Habits
After the gastric sleeve procedure, you’ll have to develop a new relationship with food. That means you’ll have to avoid social situations that conflict with your new diet or request something different.
It is also advisable to schedule your social outings around physical activities to stay consistent with your new lifestyle. That means opting for hikes and walks more than a trip to restaurants and entertainment joints.
Making Your Decision
Like every other surgery, gastric sleeve has its pros and cons to consider. If you are a committed patient, gastric sleeve serves as an effective weight-loss tool. However, be realistic about your expectations after the surgery, primarily revolving around your lifestyle.
You can get valuable insights from someone who’s had the surgery and how they adapted to life afterward. This way, you will make a more informed decision.
Finally, Consult a Professional
Friends, family, and people who’ve gone through gastric sleeve will help you decide whether this procedure is worth it or not. However, don’t forget to consult a professional surgeon or surgery center where you’ll get professional advice on the same.
In most cases, most surgeons will give you at least three months to prepare for the psychological and physical changes involved with gastric sleeve. Then, you will be in a better place to make a decision.