Gastric sleeve surgery involves removing a portion of the stomach (sometimes up to 60%) to create a sleeve that will limit the food intake a patient can consume. This restrictive procedure is used to treat morbid obesity and help patients lose significant weight loss and to treat many medical conditions including hypertension, sleep apnea, and Type II Diabetes. Like most surgical procedures, there are always pros and cons to consider before committing to the surgery itself. Make sure you understand the procedure completely and the risks associated with it.
Pros of Gastric Sleeve
The most obvious pro to this surgery is that it reduces hunger. The reduction of the stomach reduces the biochemical in the stomach that contributes to the feeling of being hungry. Many patients also like that there is no restrictive device or foreign body in place after surgery commences. These types of surgeries are more likely to cause infection and revisional surgeries. Next, the amount of weight loss in regards to gastric sleeve is significant. Some studies suggest patients can achieve 40-60% weight loss in the first few years following surgery. This weight loss will lead to an improvement in several medical conditions patients may have been diagnosed with before surgery.
Because gastric sleeve is not malabsorptive and is restrictive, there is no malabsorption of nutrients. Patients can eat what they want just in smaller portion sizes. Because the patient eats less, they must choose nutritious foods that give them energy and not junk. Gastric sleeve and other surgical procedures also cause less of a risk than that of living with severe obesity. Also, after significant weight loss occurs, a patient may then endure gastric bypass or duodenal switch surgery to complete their health change.
Cons of Gastric Sleeve
The first con to this procedure is that it is irreversible. The gastric sleeve also can be expensive and often isn’t covered by insurance. Like any other surgery, this surgical procedure can lead to complications including infections, bleeding, and pneumonia. Leakage is also possible because of the stapling that occurs during the procedure. Also, gastric sleeve only limits the ability to eat solid foods, not liquids that can prevent weight loss if consumed. If poor food choices are made, the stomach can stretch and manipulate the procedure over time. Another con is that a patient’s attitude toward food must change completely or the patient will not lose weight.