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Every New Year, millions of people make the resolution to lose excess body fat. Sadly, most of these people end up failing to achieve their resolution simply because they are not sure which weight loss methods are best for them.

While some people might do well with changes to their diet and regular exercise, other people face even bigger challenges to reach their weight loss goals. One viable option is to consider gastric sleeve surgery, which is also called sleeve gastrectomy surgery.

This weight loss surgery is well-suited for people who need to lose a large amount of body fat. An ideal candidate for this surgical procedure will have tried other weight loss methods with little to no success. They will also have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or higher, with or without co-occurring conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

A BMI of 35 or higher is also acceptable if there are co-occurring conditions. those interested in gastric sleeve surgery should also not smoke, or use tobacco, or have a substance use issues. It is equally important to have a supportive network of friends and family. many other health issues also need to be checked prior to any weight loss surgery to reduce risks, avoid high risks issues.

The Steps to Gastric Sleeve Surgery

woman showing a signboard with the text laser treatment

Prior to surgery, there are several steps one must follow ahead of time. The most important is you must be willing to make lifestyle changes. People who have successfully lost weight using this surgical procedure have been fully committed to making the necessary changes to their lifestyle.

Step 1: Schedule an initial consultation appointment.

The first step to reaching your weight loss goals is to come in for an initial consultation appointment. During your consultation, your doctor will discuss your different weight loss options and review your previous weight loss efforts. They will also review your medical history and related conditions to ensure you are an ideal candidate for weight loss surgery. many subsequent visits, and evaluations could be needed also to prepare patients for surgery, surgery could be excluded if any high risk issue is found.

Step 2: Meet with a nutritionist.

After your initial consultation, if it is determined that you are a candidate for this surgical procedure, you will meet with a nutritionist for nutritional counseling. The purpose of counseling is to review your current eating habits and discuss how these will need to change before and after your surgery.

Your nutritionist will work with you to develop a dietary plan you will need to start to implement right away. Doing so before surgery demonstrates you are committed to losing fat and reaching your weight loss goals.

Step 3: Meet with a personal trainer.

Sometimes your nutritionist will also be a personal trainer. If not, you will want to meet with one prior to your surgery. The purpose of this appointment is to develop a personalized exercise routine that best reflects your current abilities. You will need to incorporate the exercise plan into your daily routines as soon as possible before your surgery.

Step 4: Pre-surgery follow-up visit.

You will have a follow-up visit prior to scheduling your surgery. This visit is to verify that you are following your new diet plan and exercise routine. It is not uncommon for people to struggle at this early stage, but your doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, and other support staff are here to help.

If you are finding things difficult and overwhelming, your doctor may recommend you speak to a counselor or join a weight loss support group. Professional counseling and support groups can be that added motivation and support you need.

Step 5: Pre-surgery consultation visit.

obese young woman talking with psychiatrist

If everything is on schedule and you are doing well, and all health evaluations are cleared by the professionals, your doctor will have you come in for a pre-surgery consultation. At this visit, they will review the gastric sleeve procedure in detail, including what you need to do the day before the surgery, as well as after the surgery. They may also draw some blood and do some other diagnostic tests.

Step 6: Gastric sleeve surgery prep.

Your surgery will take place in a hospital. You need to make sure you followed any fasting guidelines prescribed by your doctor. If not, you will need to reschedule your surgery. There are risks of vomiting and other complications if you ate or drank when you should have been fasting.

Once you arrive at the hospital, you will be checked in. Your nurse will take you to the pre-op area to get you ready for surgery. They will take your vitals—temperature, blood pressure, etc.— and have you sign consent forms and other paperwork.

The nurse will verify that you have followed your pre-op diet and exercise plan. You also meet your surgical nurse and anesthesiologist. Once you are ready for surgery, your nurse will transport you to the operating room.

The Gastric Sleeve Surgical Procedure

The gastric sleeve procedure is minimally invasive and only takes about 60 to 90 minutes to complete, so long as there are no complications. You will be put to sleep during the surgery using anesthesia. Once you are fully asleep, your doctor will make between four and five small incisions into your abdomen.

Using a video camera and long instruments, the doctor will carefully remove about 75-80% of your stomach. Once removed, the remaining section is surgically closed and checked for leaks. for safety.

After surgery, you are taken to a recovery area where you remain until you wake up. you after that transferred to your hospital room, Once you wake up, the nurse will ask you to get up and walk a short distance. This is necessary, as it helps reduce the risks of blood clots and can help speed up your recovery.

Your friends and family can visit once you wake up, you will be moved into the room where you will spend the night. Depending on how you are feeling and recovering from surgery, you may spend a day or two in the hospital prior to being released.

Gastric Sleeve Gastrectomy Recovery/Aftercare

Once you are back home, you will have specific things you need to be doing. You will need to get up and walk short distances every hour or so. You will need to follow your post-op diet, which will consist of liquids for the first two weeks, and you will be asked to do breathing exercises hourly for few days.

Your doctor will have prescribed different medications to help alleviate pain, and help your healing stomach, and prevent blood clots,  Make sure to take these as prescribed. If you were taking other medications prior to surgery, as for diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor will let you know when you can resume these and how you should take them. You may have to crush the pills.

You should avoid lifting anything heavy for several weeks, including your children. Heavy lifting could rip your surgical stitches. You will be allowed to shower, but should not take a bath or use a hot tub for at least the first four weeks following surgery.

You may feel tired, fatigued, and weak after your surgery. This is normal, as your body is adjusting to a lower caloric intake and will gradually adjust. Pain after your gastric sleeve surgery is usually mild. However, most people report their pain is short-lived and dissipates within a few days.

Typically, you will start to feel better in about a week or so. Many people feel good enough to return to work in about a week.

Gastric Sleeve Gastrectomy Aftercare

healthy diet plan to lose weight

It is important you follow your new diet plan developed by your nutritionist. Normally, during the first few weeks, you will only be consuming liquids. Sometime during the third week after your surgery, you will slowly start introducing pureed  foods. By the end of week four, you will be on a soft foods diet.

Eventually, you will be allowed to start introducing solid foods back into your diet. Depending on how fast you heal and adapt to your new diet, this could occur anywhere within few months following your surgery.

Another important aspect to aftercare is sticking with your exercise routines. Exercise helps burn excess calories and increases fat loss. People who follow their diet and exercise plans normally notice they are losing between two and five pounds a week.

In addition, you will have several follow-up visits with your physician, nutritionist, and personal trainer. These follow-up visits help verify you are doing well. If you are tired of the same foods or exercise routines, these can be altered and changed for some variety. Your physician can also talk to you about concerns of excess skin if this is an issue for you.

Why Is Gastric Sleeve a Preferred Weight Loss Surgery? 

There are several benefits to gastric sleeve surgery, which include:

  • Reduced Hunger
  • Effective Weight Loss
  • Lowerer Risk of Complications
  • No large Foreign Bodies
  • Faster Recovery Time
  • Shorter Hospital Stays
  • Reduced Risk of Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Increased Rates of Resolution of Related Medical (Co-Occurring) Problems
  • No Removal or Re-Routing of Intestines

For further information about gastric sleeve and other weight loss surgery options, please feel free to schedule a consultation appointment at Bariatric Care Centers by calling 1 (713) 339-1353 today!

Disclaimer: This information is provided for general educational purposes only. All people should consult with their own doctors prior to following any of the advice or recommendations made in any videos, articles, or infographics. All people have their own individual needs and limitations, of which only their treating physicians can be fully aware.