What is a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy?
During this procedure, a large portion of the stomach is removed. Unlike gastric bypass, there is no bypass of the small intestines, so the likelihood of a nutritional deficiency is decreased. This procedure is non-reversible.
- Must be 18 or older
- BMI of 40+ or BMI of 35 with serious weight-related illness
- Restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold
- Causes favorable changes in gut hormones that suppress hunger, reduce appetite and improve satiety
- Induces rapid and significant weight loss similar to that of the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with initial weight loss of 60 to 65 percent and typical maintenance of >50 percent
- Directly after surgery, many patients experience a sore, dry, slightly pained throat.
- Patients are generally discharged from the hospital a day or two after surgery.
- You may experience some pain when you twist or turn your body. This is normal. Contact your doctor if pain lasts longer than a month after surgery.
- Be sure to follow the diet recommended by your doctor.
- Continually monitor your incision sites for irritation or pain. Mention any irregularities to your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy performed?
A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy can be performed using a laparoscope, or a small instrument with a live feed camera attached. Using this, Dr. Balsama can observe the procedure on a screen and perform it using small instruments and incisions, rather than an open incision which can come with some additional risks of complication. The procedure entails reducing the size of the stomach itself by sectioning off and removing about 80% of the stomach. The remaining area of the stomach is about the size of a banana and can still function as normal, only in a smaller capacity. Since this procedure doesn’t bypass the small intestines, there’s no affect on your ability to absorb nutrients.
Where are the incisions made during laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy?
During laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, Dr. Balsama will make several small incisions in the abdomen, allowing access to the stomach. Long instruments will then be placed through the incisions, using a laparoscope that acts as a video camera to guide and remove a section of the stomach. Only the stomach is affected, and the intestines are not removed or bypassed.
How does the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy work?
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy works by restricting the size of the stomach so that less food can fit. Patients will feel fuller sooner and for a longer period of time, resulting in dramatic weight loss. By reducing the size of the stomach, fewer “hunger hormones” are produced, contributing to weight loss. The intestines are completely left intact, so the procedure should not cause a decrease in the absorption of nutrients.
Is a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy reversible?
A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure is irreversible, meaning results are permanent. Once a large portion of the stomach is removed, it cannot be replaced. The decision to undergo laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy can lead to life-changing health benefits, making the procedure worth it for many patients. Dr. Balsama will meet with you to ensure that the procedure is right for you.
How long does it take to heal after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy?
On average, patients will require about 3-4 weeks to rest and recovery before they are ready to return to work. After 4-6 weeks, most laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy patients are ready to return to exercise routines and other strenuous activity.
How much weight is normal to lose after surgery?
Following laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, patients typically lose about 25-35% of their total weight, or up to 70% of their excess weight. To calculate your excess weight, simply determine the difference between your current weight and your ideal healthy weight.
How long will I see results after surgery?
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is non-reversible, meaning that the digestive system is permanently changed to restrict the amount of food that the stomach can hold. This means that results are long-lasting and, by following a healthy lifestyle long-term, can be lifelong.
Can my stomach get larger again after surgery?
The stomach can not return to its original size following laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
What limits do I face after surgery?
Immediately after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, you will require 2-3 weeks of downtime and should avoid strenuous exercise for about 4-6 weeks according to Dr. Balsama’s directions. After recovery, the stomach will have a reduced capacity, limiting the amount of food you can eat, but satiety will improve and your appetite will be reduced as well.
What foods can I no longer consume after surgery?
After a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, it’s best to avoid sugar and fat, such as high-fat dairy, foods that are difficult to digest, like fibrous vegetables or steak, and high-carb foods like pasta or potatoes. Dr. Balsama will explain which foods should be avoided in further detail.
What should I be concerned about post-surgery?
During the recovery period, you should watch for potential complications like excessive or continuous bleeding, signs of infection, stomach leak, or blood clots. These issues are rare, and some redness, soreness (especially when twisting or turning), or sore throat symptoms are all normal. Dr. Balsama will explain what you can expect and what symptoms you should watch for that would pose a concern.
How often should I work out to maintain my new body?
Once you reach a healthy, stable weight, it’s important to continue exercising regularly to maintain your health. Most doctors recommend at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to maintain health.
How does this differ from gastric bypass surgery?
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy reduces the amount of food your stomach can hold without impacting nutrient absorption. Gastric bypass causes a loss of part of the small intestine, which does impact the absorption of nutrients and requires patients to take supplements.
How long will I be in the hospital following surgery?
Following your laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, you can expect to stay in the hospital for about 24-48 hours on average.
What are the restrictions of a sleeve gastrectomy?
Some of the disadvantages of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy include that the procedure is irreversible, and may not be as effective as other bariatric surgeries as the body is still able to process high-fat and high-carb foods.
Can you sleep on your side after a sleeve gastrectomy?
Dr. Balsama recommends patients sleep slightly elevated and on their backs for a few weeks after surgery to protect the incision site. He will let you know what your specific instructions for your surgery during a consultation and follow-up appointments.
Is it normal to not feel hungry after a sleeve gastrectomy?
Generally, yes. People typically experience a loss of natural appetite after sleeve gastrectomy, as your body and brain adapt to the new normal. Following Dr. Balsama’s dietary guidelines for recovery will ensure you introduce a healthy, steady appetite back into your lifestyle.
How did you get rid of the excess fat after a gastric sleeve?
After bariatric surgery, it’s important to follow Dr. Balsama’s diet and exercise instructions to help your body burn excess fat through its natural process. You’ll shed the excess weight gradually over the course of several months or years.
Am I a good candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy?
If your BMI (body mass index) is over 40 and you are over the age of 18, you may be a candidate for a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or other bariatric surgery.