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For some who have been struggling to lose weight for some time and are eligible, having bariatric surgery in Houston can be an effective weight loss solution. However, some wonder whether these procedures are reversible. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass surgery.

What Qualifies a Person for Weight Loss Surgery?

Overweight woman before and after weight loss

Weight loss surgery candidates are those who have been psychologically and medically evaluated as being ready for these procedures. The level of a person’s health is taken into account—namely, their body mass index (BMI), current weight, and accompanying conditions. A person who is100 pounds or more overweight and who has a BMI of 40 or above may qualify for surgery.

The same is true of a person who has an accompanying condition, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, or heart disease, and who also has a BMI of 35 or greater. However, it’s important to note that there are several guidelines for evaluation that go beyond weight, BMI, and medical conditions.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is a popular surgery for weight loss. Sleeve gastrectomy is considered a lower-risk surgery because it is simpler and less invasive than some other surgeries. It is classified as a restrictive surgery because it limits the amount of food you can consume in a sitting.

Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy

This particular type of bariatric surgery not only reduces the size of the stomach but also causes fast and significant weight loss to occur. In addition, sleeve gastrectomy doesn’t require any part of the food stream to be rerouted, nor does it require the installation of any foreign objects inside the body.

How the Surgery Is Performed

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery removes up to 80% of the stomach with only a few small incisions to the abdomen. These incisions are made in order to allow surgical tools, including a laparoscope (a camera) to be inserted. Once your abdominal area is expanded with a harmless gas, the surgeon removes a large part of your stomach and joins the remaining portions with surgical staples.

Following surgery, your stomach will be in the shape of a long tube or banana. Typical sleeve gastrectomy surgery takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete.

What Happens Following Surgery

Because the size of your stomach will be limited, you won’t be able to consume the same amount of food at one sitting as before. As well, the surgery will cause changes in your hormones that will help you lose weight, as well as work to relieve any accompanying conditions like high blood pressure.

You may experience some short-lived pain and discomfort following surgery, but this is normal and can be eliminated with pain medication. Many report only feeling these symptoms for a day or two following their surgery.

thirsty woman holding glass and drinking water

Post-Surgery Diet

In order to allow healing, those who undergo sleeve gastrectomy surgery will need to be on a liquid diet for the first 14 days of recovery. Following this initial period, two weeks on a pureed food diet will need to be completed before beginning regular food intake. Having sleeve gastrectomy surgery will also require you to take a multivitamin twice daily, a calcium supplement once a day, and chewable vitamin D weekly.

Is Gastric Sleeve Reversible?

Sleeve gastronomy is not reversible. This is because 80 percent of the stomach that the surgeon removes cannot be reattached once it’s been cut away.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, this surgery takes place in two parts. Gastric bypass is a more complex process than sleeve gastrectomy. This surgery is second on the list of most popular bariatric surgeries, with sleeve gastrectomy being number one. This particular surgery is classified as restrictive but also as metabolic and malabsorptive, which means it restricts the calories and nutrients the body can absorb from meals, and it alters gut hormone levels.

Benefits of Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass typically results in dramatic weight loss which occurs rapidly. The first six months after surgery is when approximately half of the weight loss occurs. but it can continue for up to two years. As a result of rapid weight loss, accompanying conditions like sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and arthritis can also see rapid improvement.

How the Surgery Is Performed

Gastric bypass surgery requires two components. First, the surgeon divides the top of the stomach from the remainder, creating a small pouch that can hold about one ounce. Then, they divide the first portion of the small intestine, bringing its divided bottom end up to connect it to the small stomach pouch. Finally, the top of the divided small intestine is connected to the small intestine farther down, to allow mixing of digestive enzymes and stomach acid with food.

Generally speaking, gastric bypass surgery can take between 90 to 180 minutes to complete.

What Happens Following Surgery

Those who undergo this surgery will need to remain in the hospital for between 24 and 48 hours, patients will not be able to return to work for one to two weeks and must avoid strenuous activity, driving, and heavy lifting for one to four weeks following surgery.

Post-Surgery Diet

Although individual requirements will vary, those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery will have to adopt a detailed diet that allows for healing, getting used to smaller meals, and avoiding side effects. The diet requires the intake of liquids only for the first two weeks, followed by blended and pureed foods for the subsequent two weeks before eating soft foods and finally solid food.

Those who undergo this surgery will need to take significant care with their diet, as well as take supplements for the rest of their lives. This is because gastric bypass surgery alters the way in which food is absorbed.

Is Gastric Bypass Reversible?

Gastric bypass surgery is reversible. However, in order to accomplish this, an operation that’s as involved or more complex than the original surgery may be required. As well, a reversal procedure carries the same, if not higher risks of the original surgery.

Should You Get Bariatric Surgery?

The decision to get any kind of bariatric surgery is a personal one that only you can make. In addition to the medical and psychological criteria that must be met, you need to make some serious considerations.

First, you’ll want to consider whether you have given other non-surgical weight loss options an honest effort. For example, you may have tried a range of exercise programs or diets to lose weight before and were unsuccessful. It may also be that you lost weight in the past as the result of activity and diet changes, but you were unable to keep it off for the long term.

Helping You Meet the Challenges of Weight Loss

relax happy Asian woman on sofa

Both sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass can be the ideal options for losing unwanted weight and gaining the opportunity to change your life. Bariatric Care Centers offer clients programs and processes for each stage of the weight loss journey, giving them the skills they need to meet every challenge head-on.

We believe that the best care is borne out of respect, dignity, and compassion. If you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight in the past and have accompanying conditions that are threatening your health, call Bariatric Care Centers to schedule a consultation: 713-339-1353. We are closed now, but hopefully will be reopening in the near future, be Safe.