Gastric sleeve resection can be the first step toward gastric bypass, or a weight loss surgery on its own. It is often used on people who are critically obese, and whose bodies might not be able to handle the huge stressors of a full gastric bypass surgery. It has a low risk factor, with about 3-5% of patients suffering side effects from the surgery, but it may not be completely effective long-term, and patients undergoing it may do so to lose weight in preparation for having gastric bypass when their bodies are healthier.
The method for performing gastric sleeve resection can sometimes be called stomach stapling. Essentially two-thirds of the stomach is removed, leaving the stomach in the shape of a tube or sleeve. This significantly limits amount of food intake and may reduce physical hunger cravings. Overeating especially shortly after gastric sleeve resection often results in vomiting.
This surgery is performed in a hospital, and usually requires several days’ stay thereafter. It is extremely important to follow directions in diet once you can eat most normal foods again. First, you must limit intake, which is normally helped by eating five to six small meals a day. The meals are very small; a piece of bread might be considered breakfast.
Food also has to be chewed very carefully, because the stomach tends to lack the acid to break down larger pieces of food. In the early days after gastric sleeve resection, most food must be eaten mashed. The remaining stomach “sleeve” is very sensitive to high acid, highly sweet and/or carbonated beverages. You also must not use most anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or aspirin since these can irritate the stomach at the least, and/or cause the stomach to bleed.
Some people are under the mistaken impression that any type of surgery to correct obesity will simply take care of the problem without any effort on their behalf. This is definitely not true of gastric sleeve resection. Dietary limitations have to be imposed and people who have the surgery are usually counseled on what they should eat and should avoid. Furthermore, as a person recovers from gastric sleeve resection, and begins to lose excess weight, exercise can help accelerate this process and is encouraged. Extensive follow up on patients after the procedure is required to make certain the person is still doing well after the surgery and following all medical advice.
Overeating, when it does not cause vomiting, can make gastric sleeve resection less effective over time. The stomach sleeve can stretch, creating a larger stomach pouch for food, which may not effectively control hunger or limit food intake. Doctors estimate that most people lose about 40-60% of excess weight with this surgery in approximately a year’s time, but this can depend upon strict adherence to dietary recommendations. Stretching of the sleeve may necessitate later full gastric bypass to completely eliminate remaining excess weight.
Though gastric sleeve resection surgery carries a much lower risk than full gastric bypass, it does still have risks which need to be weighed. It is also only partially effective if a person commits to changing dietary and exercise habits. Those who do commit to these changes can lose all weight necessary, and by continuing good diet and exercise patterns, they can continue to keep this weight off.