Advantages and Disadvantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

If you are severely overweight and have tried dieting and exercising without results, there is another option open to you in gastric sleeve surgery. This type of bariatric surgery, or procedures performed for the morbidly obese, is one of the newest options and is growing in popularity. In the procedure, a surgeon removes a portion of the stomach in order to restrict the amount of food the body can take in. This surgery is an alternative to gastric bypass surgery, but before you decide on this kind of surgery, it is important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure.

What is the Surgery?

This type of surgery which is also known by several other terms, including gastric sleeve resection , VSG- vertical sleeve gastrectomy  and parietal gastrectomy is a fairly new form of Bariatric surgery, meaning that its goal is to help people lose considerable weight if they are struggling with obesity. Most doctors classify a person as being extremely obese if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of forty or above. Sleeve gastrectomy is also another option if gastric bypass has been deemed too risky. The procedure is performed laparoscopically and cannot be reversed. Also this procedure can be used in conjunction with gastric bypass surgery as well.

gastric sleeve

During sleeve gastrectomy, anywhere from sixty to eight-five percent of the stomach is permanently removed. The portion of the stomach left behind is a smaller sleeve in the shape of a banana. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, there is no rerouting of the small intestine, and the stomach retains its function. The surgery does, however, greatly reduce appetite, because it removes the part of the stomach the produces appetite-stimulating hormones. By reducing appetite and cutting down on the capacity of the stomach to hold food, the procedure has shown promise in helping people lose a large amount of weight when traditional forms of weight loss like diet and exercise are not working.

Advantages

  • This surgery is a method to help people lose a large amount of weight. The smaller stomach created by the surgery slows the intake of food so the patient feels full faster. Patients also stay full longer, and this leads to smaller meals with a longer period of time in between eating.
  • This surgical process can also improve many conditions brought about by being overweight like high cholesterol and arthritis. In fact, recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have demonstrated that the surgery has a greater improvement on high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes than traditional weight loss options.
  • The procedure can also improve your quality of life and ease your struggle with weight loss. Ultimately, this procedure has been shown to reduce weight from 60-70% in the first one to two years.
  • Another advantage is that does not have some of the unpleasant side effects that gastric bypass surgery has. The surgery does not cause malabsorption of food, meaning that your body can still get the essential vitamins and nutrients from what you eat.
  • The surgery also has a smaller risk of dumping syndrome than gastric bypass in which the stomach empties quickly leading to cramps, fainting, diarrhea, and nausea. Unlike lap band surgery, there is no restrictive device left in the abdominal cavity. The procedure is usually performed laparoscopically meaning that there is minimal cutting into the body, and patients typically recover faster than with open surgery.

Disadvantages

Like with any major surgical operation, there are also disadvantages and complications. The biggest disadvantage is that the procedure is permanent, so you need to make sure it is worth the risks. Complications include:

  • Leakage around the staples in the stomach
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss from nutritional deficiencies,
  • Constipation
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Vomiting
  • Stretching of the stomach over time

Some patients do experience dumping syndrome but the risk is not as much compared to gastric bypass surgery. Also, inadequate weight loss or weight gain is more likely to occur with this procedure than others.

People who have this surgery still have to adhere to a strict diet and be careful what they put into their bodies. Patients are encouraged to quit smoking both before and after the surgery because of its health risks. Patients are also advised not to overeat or eat large chunks of food because it can lead to severe discomfort. The diet to follow after surgery involves eating small meals, consuming a large amount of nutrient-rich foods, cutting down on snacking between meals, and drinking six to eight cups of water a day. People who have undergone this procedure usually go through dramatic changes in their eating habits to lose weight and keep it off.

gastric sleeve surgery

Costs

The average cost of this surgical procedure is about $10,000, but costs can easily exceed $20,000 when factoring in all of the additional expenses. However, this procedure is still a little less than traditional gastric bypass surgery. Since the procedure is relatively new, many health insurance providers do not cover the operation, and the cost can be outrageous. Health insurance companies want proof that the procedure is effective. Another option is to go abroad to have the procedure done. It is much less expensive when done in Mexico than in the United States and still has the same high quality. Other countries that perform the sleeve surgery include India, Belgium, and Costa Rica.

Conclusion

Overall, this surgery is a viable option for those who are seriously overweight and cannot lose enough weight with dieting and exercise. The surgery is a valid alternative to gastric bypass surgery without some of the complications or disadvantages that come with it. There are still risks and complications with this surgical method but it has also been shown to be effective in reducing weight and other medical problems associated with obesity. In the end, you must decide whether gastric sleeve surgery is right for you.

 DISCLAIMER: This article is for guidance only. Always consult with your Doctor or a Specialist on everything.