The sleeve gastrectomy (also known as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy) is a well-established keyhole operation which involves permanently removing a large portion of your stomach. The result is a narrow tube-shaped stomach which has a total capacity of 1/4 of its original size, making you feel fuller sooner and significantly reducing hunger resulting in remarkable and sustained weight-loss.
Common questions about the Sleeve Gastrectomy
Q: Is the sleeve gastrectomy right for me?
Our weight-loss team will always discuss the options available to you. You may be suitable for the sleeve gastrectomy if you fulfil the following criteria:
- Your BMI (body mass index) is 35 or more and you have medical problems associated with your weight such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Your BMI is 40 or more without any medical problems associated with your weight.
- Your BMI is 30 or more and you have either been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes.
Sleeve gastrectomy is not an appropriate option if you have conditions such as severe underlying acid reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus or your oesophagus (food-pipe) does not function properly.
Q: How much weight will I lose?
Two years on from surgery, the sleeve gastrectomy can help you lose an average of 2/3 of your excess weight. For example, if you are 5 foot 5 inches tall (165cm), the upper limit of a ‘healthy’ weight (BMI 25) is 70kg. Any weight above 70kg is termed as ‘excess weight’. If you weigh 110kg, your excess weight is 40kg (110kg-70kg). The sleeve gastrectomy will help you lose approximately 25kg.
Weight loss results can vary significantly due to a number of factors including your genes and the lifestyle choices you make once you have had surgery. Our specialists will discuss these factors with you during your consultation.
Q: What are the other benefits of the sleeve gastrectomy?
The sleeve gastrectomy is a safe procedure undertaken using keyhole surgery. In addition to the dramatic associated weight loss, the sleeve gastrectomy is linked to marked improvements and resolution of many medical conditions including:
- Type 2 diabetes: Complete resolution in 65% of cases.
- High blood pressure: 66% of patients are able to reduce or stop medication.
- High cholesterol: 95% of patients show improvement or complete resolution of abnormally high cholesterol levels.
- Infertility: 95% of patients experience correction of underlying hormonal problems and restored fertility.
There are many other benefits including improvements in medical conditions such as asthma, back pain, liver disease, stress incontinence and psychological wellbeing.
Q: How long will I be in hospital?
The sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure which takes approximately 40 minutes to perform. It is done whilst you are asleep under general anaesthesia. In most cases, patients can go home after an overnight stay in hospital.
Q: Are there any risks with the sleeve gastrectomy?
The sleeve gastrectomy operation is safe and effective and the risks associated with it are small. However no procedure or surgery is risk-free. Complications in the immediate period after surgery include:
- Internal bleeding
- Infection of the keyhole wounds
- Perforation: This includes inadvertantly making a hole in a section of bowel. This is rare and occurs in less than 1% of patients.
- Leak: The stomach is reduced in size by using a special stapling device. Sometimes the area where this device is used does not heal correctly. This is called a ‘staple-line leak’. Again, this rarely occurs and happens in less than 3% of patients.
- DVT: A ‘deep veing thrombosis’ is another word for a clot in the leg. These clots can rarely also travel to the lung. We routinely prescribe you special stockings and blood thinning medication following your surgery to reduce the risk of this happening.
- Death: This is very rare and occurs in less than 1 in every 500 patients.
Some of the longer-term problems which may occur include:
- Poor absorption of vitamins: Your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to function properly. These include Vitamin B12 and iron. We will ensure that you have all the advice necessary to supplement your vitamin requirements following surgery.
- Dumping syndrome: This is a collection of symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, sweating, dizziness, headaches and fatigue which can occur after gastric bypass surgery. Some patients complain of dumping syndrome to varying degrees. It occurs to a lesser extent as compared to the gastric bypass. Our weight-loss experts will advise you how best to manage this should it be a problem for you.
Q: Will I regain weight after surgery?
Weight loss and regain following surgery relies on many factors. It is influenced by your genes and the lifestyle choices you make following surgery. As such, surgery should be seen as a tool to aid you in your weight-loss journey.
The long-term data and information about weight regain following sleeve gastrectomy is still not available. However a small proportion of patients may experience stretching of their stomach tubes over time, which may lead to weight regain. As with all weight-loss surgery, it is essential to alter your lifestyle choices in order to minimise the risk of weight regain.
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