The sleeve gastrectomy success rate is excellent with less than 5% of patients regaining even a small portion of the weight they lost after the surgery.
What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?
Sleeve gastrectomy, more commonly known as gastric sleeve surgery or GSS, evolved from a number of earlier procedures and is today at the forefront of anti-obesity surgical treatments. Fortunately the success rate for this surgery is excellent with less than 5% of patients regaining even a small portion of the weight they lost in the wake of their surgery. Still, people have questions about just what is sleeve gastrectomy.
How Does Sleeve Gastrectomy Work?
During GSS the surgeon removes approximately 75-80% of the patient’s stomach. This drastic change is made to the digestive system in order to facilitate weight loss in the patient who has been unsuccessful at losing weight by other means. By reducing the size of the stomach the amount a person can eat at any one time is also reduced as is the absorption of nutrients. In addition food moves faster through the drastically smaller stomach and there is a substantial reduction in the number of gut hormones released, which means you feel full for longer periods and won’t typically be tempted to snack between meals. In more than 95% of all cases the patient loses virtually all of their excess weight and is able to keep it off over the long term, essentially providing a new lease on life for the formerly obese person.
Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy
People sometimes get confused and think there are several sleeve gastrectomy types. There aren’t. There are 3 types of gastrectomy surgery but only one is the “sleeve” type – GSS – and that’s what we are focusing on here.
- Remission of Type 2 diabetes
- Help with high blood pressure
- Help with heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Relief of depression
- Joint pain relief
- Improve fertility
- Alleviate other medical conditions
Obese individuals typically lead fairly sedentary lifestyles and often find themselves isolated from the kind of normal social interactions and activities the rest of us take for granted. These activities and interactions help us maintain good physical and mental health and a positive outlook about our life and prospects. Obese individuals by contrast are sidelined by their condition and often wind up suffering from depression. Various studies have shown a direct correlation between significant weight loss and a vastly improved quality of life. The person is no longer denied the ability to participate in normal healthy activities, spends less time indoors by themselves and, as noted above, is often freed from the odious consequences of conditions that were related to their obesity.
Obese individuals are often painfully aware of prying eyes and hear the judgmental whispers of those around them. Even the strongest among them is not immune to the negative effects on self-confidence and self-esteem that can result. But the effects on self-confidence are not simply a result of negative social interactions, there is ample evidence that being overweight can increase the amount of the stress-related hormone cortisol in the system and that losing weight has the opposite effect. In addition, depression is typically one of the most common side effects of obesity but numerous clinical studies show that obese individuals who lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off suffer fewer symptoms of depression. Finally, the positive effects on mood and self-confidence that stem from significant weight loss have a cascading effect on the individual’s overall outlook. This enables them to stick more effectively to long term diet and exercise regimens.
One of the little discussed effects of weight loss from GSS is that of improved sleep. Obese individuals often suffer from sleep apnea, insomnia, interrupted sleep, inconsistent sleep patterns and overall fatigue at all hours of the day. A variety of control studies showed that significant weight loss is able to reduce or eliminate sleep apnoea, allow patients to sleep longer without interruption, reduce instances of insomnia and produce higher levels of awareness and vitality during the day. In general the more weight an obese individual loses the better they will sleep.
Thanks to weightlossriga.co.uk and the whole team, I’ve got a new, healthy and better life. I had surgery on the 11th of April 2015 and weighed 94.5 kg…read more
I was quite apprehensive about travelling abroad for surgery. The modern clinic was professionally staffed, and the level of service given was second to none…read more
I am so delighted with my weight loss. It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in years. I can’t recommend Riga highly enough…read more
I would highly recommend anyone looking for a truly professional and caring service to look no further than Dr Troickis and his wonderful team at Weight Loss Riga…read more
From start to finish, the whole experience with Weight Loss Riga has been nothing short of amazing. Having chosen to have gastric bypass…read more
I went to The clinic in Riga, and from the enquiries to booking to getting back home, I received friendly, professional advice…read more
I was one of the first from the UK to have my bypass with Weight Loss Riga, and I still class it as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life…read more
Weight Loss Riga has completely changed my life in an unimaginable way. I have spent years struggling with my weight and tried all sorts of diets…read more
I did a lot of research and decided to go with weight loss Riga via Mim, the UK patient coordinator. Within 2 weeks of my enquiry, I was in Latvia…read more
I just wanted to post this review about my experience and journey to Riga. From start to finish, I had the most laid back trip ever…read more
I decided to have a Gastric Sleeve at Weight Loss Riga after 40 years of struggling with my weight. After much research, I discovered Weight Loss Riga…read more
I have tried many diets over the years, but they failed. Pounds pile back on again. I contacted Mona in Riga to arrange and undertake Gastric Bypass surgery…read more
* This is feedback from our former patients, and such an outcome cannot be guaranteed or promised.
Risks of Sleeve Gastrectomy
In most cases sleeve gastrectomy complications are less severe than those of other types of intestinal bypass surgery. Any complications that may arise are typically handled with professional ease by the medical team and their support staff. That said, there are still risks involved as there are with any type of major surgery and you should be fully aware of them before deciding whether to undergo this type of procedure.
While sleeve gastrectomy side effects are typically uncommon you should not ignore the fact that they may occur and make your decision whether or not to undergo the procedure based on all the facts.
The above risks and complications aside for a moment there is one other side effect of GSS that needs to be discussed, and that is sagging skin. A successful gastric sleeve procedure is going to produce significant weight loss (we’ll go into exactly how much in greater detail below). This in turn is going to result in a potentially significant amount of loose or sagging skin. Just how much will depend on how much you weighed prior to surgery, how much weight you lost after surgery, your age and the general overall condition of your skin. Areas where sagging skin can be particularly pronounced include the arms and legs, abdomen and buttocks. In some cases people decide to live with the excess skin and while that is certainly their right you should be aware that doing so may result in a number of issues related to hygiene and health.
For instance; stubborn rashes and even infections can develop in the folds between the skin. This is caused by the combination of moisture build-up and friction. Having a lot of excess skin can also interfere with your natural walking motion and don’t forget that all that skin weighs a considerable amount, so you’re still putting undue stress and strain on your joints.
Because of all this many who undergo GSS follow it up later with plastic surgery to remove the excess skin. You should discuss this option with your doctor who will likely be able to refer you to a qualified cosmetic surgeon experienced in such matters.
There are many different types of weight loss surgery and not all of them are right for everyone seeking this type of help. GSS is considered one of the safest and most effective methods of weight loss surgery and is best suited to individuals who:
- Have had limited or no success losing weight through more conventional means – This type of surgery is never a first option. It should only be undertaken when all other non-surgical methods of weight loss have been exhausted. If that is the case with you, then you may be a candidate for GSS.
- May have difficulty making regular follow up visits – Some types of weight loss surgery require frequent follow up examinations: lap band surgery being a good example. GSS however usually does not require the patient make numerous follow up visits and in fact your surgeon may determine that, barring complications, you won’t need more than a single 6 month and a single 1 year follow up.
- Are wary of the potential negative long term effects of bypass surgery – Intestinal bypass surgery carries with it the risk of several potential side effects that typically make it a riskier type of surgery. Those potential side effects include intestinal obstructions, anaemia and vitamin/protein deficiencies.
- Are unable to undergo other types of weight loss surgery – Sometimes a condition like Crohn’s disease forces a person to choose between sleeve gastrectomy vs gastric bypass. Those people will often times respond much better to GSS.
While there may be other considerations that potentially make laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy inadvisable anyone who is significantly overweight and meets the other criteria spelled out above will be a candidate for this type of surgery. When you choose to have your surgery at Weight Loss Riga you will be sent a comprehensive questionnaire to fill in and return to us. The questionnaire will then be reviewed by one of our surgeons and should they find everything in order you will be invited to schedule a date for the procedure. Before the day of the surgery you will be interviewed and examined at the clinic to ensure you are in the good health and otherwise ready to undergo the procedure.
Quite a number of patients are concerned that they will wind up regaining the weight they lost in the aftermath of sleeve gastrectomy surgery. They have heard horror stories from people who have undergone lap band surgery and fear the worst. Their fears however, are completely unwarranted. The drastically reduced size of the stomach makes it virtually impossible to consume enough food to return to your former weight. It’s no more complicated than that. If you want to insure that you don’t gain back even a few pounds of your former weight it will be important that you follow the dietary and exercise advice you’ll receive from the medical team.
That said patients still have questions about sleeve gastrectomy results including how much weight they are likely to lose as a result of this surgery. The fact is the exact amount will vary from person to person and will depend on how heavy you were before surgery and what your target weight will be after surgery as well as other factors. The most important thing is to have realistic expectations as to how much you will lose, expectations that are not established until you have undergone your face to face preoperative screening at the clinic.
On average even if a person is not fastidious in their adherence to the advice given by the medical team they can still expect to lose something in the neighborhood of 60% of their excess body fat. If, however, you are studious in following the dietary advice of your medical team, you have changed or abandoned old habits and you are exercising on a regular basis it is fair to assume you will lose at least 70-80% and sometimes more of your excess weight as a result of this surgery. So both ultimate weight loss numbers and recovery time after sleeve gastrectomy are a matter of not just undergoing surgery, but making necessary lifestyle changes in the postoperative period.
Gastric bypass cost may present significant financial hurdles a patient has difficulty clearing. It’s possible that your health insurance plan may cover some or even all of the cost of this type of weight loss surgery, but you will need to be sure you have pre-approval from the insurer prior to surgery. The same goes for any other type of medical assistance program. In order to receive pre-approval, members of the evaluation team will need to sign off on the notion that this procedure is not only justified but necessary from a medical standpoint.
At the same time, different insurers may impose different standards of proof before they’ll be willing to pre-approve the gastric bypass cost for UK residents. Some, in fact, simply won’t cover it at all. If that is the case with your insurance company, the sooner you find out the better so that you can make alternative arrangements. Those arrangements may include seeking assistance from relatives or paying for most or all of the procedure out of your own pocket. Again, the gastric bypass price can be substantial, so it’s crucial to have the financial aspect straightened out as early in the process.
- Length of stay – GSS is a non-reversible procedure that is performed under general anesthesia. The surgery itself usually takes about an hour but may take a bit longer depending on the particulars of the patient. If you undergo the procedure in the UK you will likely be guided to the door after only 1 day. However, if you elect to have your surgery in our state of the art facility in Riga there will be no such time pressure on you. And because daily hospital costs are so much less than in London you will be able to recuperate at your own pace without having to worry that you’re draining your bank account.
- Prior to release – Your doctor will perform a number of checks to insure your body has reacted as expected to the surgery and that you are indeed ready to return to your life. All incisions will be carefully inspected to ensure they are healing properly and there is no sign of infection. The doctor will also perform tests to make sure there is no leakage in your reconstructed stomach before you leave.
- Period following release – Just because you’ve been released however does not mean you can resume a normal slate of activities or go back to eating solid food. Indeed your stomach will be very sensitive for a several days after you get home and you will likely be put on a liquid diet after gastric sleeve surgery for up to 2 weeks before you are allowed to start working your way back toward solid food. Unless you are experiencing complications there will be no need for follow up visits during this period. You will however be working with a dietitian to ensure you are getting enough of the vitamins and minerals you need to sustain good health. While malabsorption is not a concern with this type of surgery the way it is with gastric bypass you still need to follow the dietitian’s advice in order to avoid problems.
- 2 weeks out – After being on the liquid diet for 2 weeks (+/-) the dietitian in consultation with your doctor will begin to reintroduce you to solid foods. You will start with eating semi solid foods for a further 2 weeks before finally beginning to eat real solid foods after about a month. While some will advise that you can return to work 2 weeks after this type of surgery we would suggest waiting a full month just to be safe and to give your body the ability to adjust to the new reality. All in all the full transition from a liquid diet to solid foods should take about 6 to 8 weeks. After that you can expect to slowly progress back to normal activity.
- Long term – You can reasonably expect that full recovery after sleeve gastrectomy will take anywhere from 4 to 9 months depending on your age and overall physical condition. Any pain and discomfort you feel initially will slowly subside and you should be almost pain free after a month, with only short, intermittent periods of discomfort. In time those too will pass.
We cannot stress strongly enough that under no circumstances should you engage in strenuous physical activity in the weeks immediately following your surgery. Failing to heed this advice could end up causing the wound or wounds to reopen and/or your reconfigured stomach to leak. This means no running, working out, lifting heavy objects and no sex. Basically you need to avoid anything that will put any type of stress on the staples or the sutures. Don’t undertake any form of activity other than sitting, lying, standing and slow walking without clearing it with your doctor first. Remember, recovery is a process not an event and you’ll need to respect that process if you are to enjoy the long term benefits. There is no way to say exactly when people will be allowed to step up their physical activity. It will vary from case to case. With some people they will be able to start light exercise after a few weeks. While with others it may take a couple of months. Listen to your doctor.
As mentioned previously a gastric sleeve procedure is one during which the surgeon removes 75-80% of the patient’s stomach. In some cases they may even remove a bit more. The surgery itself is typically done laparoscopically and the sleeve gastrectomy steps are as follows:
What is sleeve gastrectomy surgery? Is it the same as gastric bypass?
They are two entirely different procedures. With gastric bypass a detour is built around most of the stomach. With sleeve surgery most of the stomach is removed.
How much does a sleeve gastrectomy cost?
See the comparative cost chart in the guide above.
Is the sleeve gastrectomy safe?
This type of gastric surgery is considered among the safest and most effective available.
What will be my sleeve gastrectomy diet pre op?
That will be determined by your doctor and dietitian based on the particulars of your case.
Will I be able to think about pregnancy after sleeve gastrectomy?
Will my new stomach stretch back out over time?
Under normal conditions the answer is “no”. But that is not to say it’s impossible. There have been cases where people have ignored the advice of their doctors and engaged in rather aggressive overeating. When this happens it is possible for the reconfigured stomach to stretch back out, although not to its original dimensions.
How will I know if I'm leaking?
What are the different sleeve gastrectomy types?
Sleeve gastrectomy is a potentially life altering procedure that is both a safe and affordable if you have it done in at the Weight Loss Riga clinic. We’ve helped scores of people just like yourself take control of their life by way of this fast, effective procedure and we can help you too. For more information contact our UK Patient Coordinator on 99058928 or fill out the enquiry form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.