We all know losing weight is difficult and keeping that weight off long-term can be an even bigger struggle. If your weight is affecting your quality of life and normal diet and exercise aren’t doing the trick, it may be time to look into weight loss surgery.
There have been many positive advancements in the world of weight loss, but this can leave you feeling overwhelmed when deciding which procedure is right for you. There are multiple bariatric surgery options that each hold specific benefits and risks, and the effectiveness and safety of each procedure will vary based on your medical history. That being said, multiple studies show the gastric sleeve to yield the quickest weight loss results with the least amount of complications for the greatest number of people.
“Sleeve gastrectomy has proven itself to be a safe and effective option in patients with morbid obesity and this procedure should be considered a primary procedure for weight loss and obesity-related disease improvement and resolution,” said Robin Blackstone, MD, President American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
What are the benefits?
- Quick and Effective Results
By removing 80 percent of the stomach, sleeve gastrectomy induces rapid and effective weight loss by simply reducing the amount of food you are able to eat. Not only will your stomach be smaller, but the portion that is removed is responsible for producing ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger to the brain. This hormonal change will help you curb your hunger and feel satiated quicker.
According to the Mayo Clinic, this drastically reduced caloric intake will help you lose up to 60 percent or more of your excess weight in two years.
The cherry on top of gastric sleeve surgery is its success in improving and even reversing obesity-related health risks, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.
- Minimally Invasive
Gastric sleeve surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that is most commonly performed laparoscopically through several small incisions. Compared to traditional open surgery, laparoscopy results in minimal scarring, far less pain and a shorter recovery period, so you can get back to your normal daily activities and start enjoying the results of your surgery.
Patients generally spend 48 hours in the hospital and experience full recovery in three weeks.
- Fewer Complications
There will always be potential complications when surgery is involved, but gastric sleeve patients are less likely to experience the more severe post-op complications associated with other bariatric surgeries, such as hernia or dumping syndrome. Other surgeries that reroute the digestive tract can also lead to a higher risk of malnutrition due to poor nutrient absorption, resulting in a life-long vitamin supplement regiment that must be strictly maintained.
Most gastric sleeve surgeries are now performed laparoscopically, further lowering the risks of the initial operation and vastly decreasing the chance for post-op complications and secondary surgeries.
- Permanent Solution
While the word “irreversible” may bring about some reservations, the gastric sleeve provides you with long-term results and does not require the periodic maintenance of implanting a foreign object.
While originally designed as the first step on the way to gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery is now widely accepted and commonly used as a destination procedure for people with a BMI greater than 40.
What are the risks?
All weight loss surgeries come with risks, but none are riskier than avoiding the toll obesity is taking on your health. While gastric sleeve surgery comes with its own set of potential complications, they do not venture far beyond the norm for any surgical procedure.
Standard short-term concerns are infection, blood clots and leaking at the surgical site.
In the long term, there is potential for gastrointestinal obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux and mild nutrient deficiencies, but most patients find that after recovery, they are able to enjoy a wide variety of foods and do not require strict supplementation.
How does it compare to other bariatric surgeries?
In a ratio of safety to results, gastric sleeve surgery comes out on top.
While the gastric sleeve is the most nuanced of the bariatric surgeries, it has quickly become a popular option for safe, effective weight loss. There is nothing more important than your health, and in order to make sound decisions, education is key. Talk your doctor for more information about the benefits and risks of the options available to you.