Gastric sleeve is a surgical weight-loss alternative to dieting or exercising only. It provides better and faster results than only dieting and exercising.
Gastric sleeve involves the surgical removal of a larger portion of the stomach, leaving behind a smaller portion of food intake. Gastric sleeve reduces the size of the stomach by up to 80%, leaving only 20% of the stomach for food intake. The small portion of the stomach that is left takes the shape of a banana.
Gastric sleeve is recommended for individuals that are overweight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 and above. Individuals with a BMI of 35 to 40 with health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, or high blood pressure can also undergo the procedure.
The aim of gastric sleeve is to reduce the size of your stomach to a very small size so that it can only take a very little amount of food. This leads to reductions in the amount of calories that your body will absorb, leading to reductions of weight over time.
The average recovery period from a gastric sleeve is 4 weeks. Between 2-3 weeks, the incision site has already healed. The stomach staple line and surgical site heal between 6-8 weeks. Most people can begin their normal activities and exercises after 4 weeks while it could take about 6 weeks for some people to fully recover and return to work.
It takes 4-8 weeks for the stomach to completely heal after gastric sleeve. While the incision site can heal in 2-3 weeks, it takes much longer for the stomach staple line to heal.
During a gastric sleeve surgery, you will be given general anesthesia to make you sleep and unconscious throughout the surgery. You won’t feel pain when the surgery is going on. After the surgery is completed and when the effect of the anesthesia wears off, you will start to feel pain in your belly.
You will be given pain medications to help relieve the pain. You will feel much pain during the first week after your surgery. The pain will gradually subside as you recover.
The side effects and risks associated with gastric sleeve include:
Most patients that have undergone gastric sleeve have given good reviews about the procedure. Here are some recovery stories from patients that have undergone gastric sleeve
I was walking 3 hours after my surgery with my IV stand. I was able to do 5000 steps on my Fitbit that day. I experienced very little pain and only took a small .2 mil shot of pain killer to relieve my pain and feel much comfortable. Luckily, my doctor put me right to independent status so that I could walk around.
The hospital was making sure that I was doing well with my pain management and so I had to confirm that I was doing just fine and had no pain issues. My doctor figured out that if really I was in real pain, I would not be able to walk around as much as I did. This was surprising and fun as the doctors and nurses were not used to seeing a patient being so active after an operation.
There are some other patients who did the same surgery as me but they were not able to get out of bed; hence it varies from person to person.
If you want to undergo this surgery, I suggest that you do what I did and hit the gym months before your surgery. You can engage in walks, swimming, weightlifting, or any other light exercises. Of course, this can be painful for most people.
I also had to deal with the pain that comes with it but you have to try harder even if it is just to lift light weights from a seated position. I really think that being in a good shape helped me during my recovery.
Follow your food phase plan and don’t just eat any foods during your early recovery period. Understand that you just had a major surgery and you need to heal. Your pouch needs time to be ready again for different foods and this takes a while. Take protein and water every day. Read the recovery instructions given to you by your doctor and follow them accordingly.
You can ask questions if you are unsure of anything. Do not ask the internet as programs differ and you could get a wrong answer. Talk to your doctor directly and ask any questions you want to ask.
The next day I came home after my vertical sleeve surgery, I could get up and walk around to take card of myself. I had vertical sleeve surgery which is less invasive than gastric bypass. For gastric bypass surgery, you will be kept in the hospital overnight and possibly longer.
I was still in a lot of pain though. If I had a desk job, I could have actually gone back to work within 2 weeks after my surgery. I cannot remember exactly when I was allowed to drive. It was probably about 3–4weeks. I went back to work after a month.
The pain I felt was from the soreness of all that gas that they use in the laparoscopic surgery. The doctor had to make about 5 small incisions on my abdomen and move all my nearby organs to get to my stomach. Before my surgery, my stomach was about the size of a football but now it is the same size as my intestines. So I cannot eat as much now.
Gastric bypass is much more invasive. It involves rearranging your organs ( stomach and small intestines). It could take a longer recovery time.
I opted for the vertical sleeve surgery. It is a partial gastrectomy and 75% of my stomach was removed. Vertical sleeve surgery was a lot safer for me.
After undergoing gastric bypass, there are some certain things that you can’t do. These include: