How Long Does A Gastric Sleeve Surgery Take
Gastric bypass surgery has been used as a weight loss treatment since 1994 when Dr. Richard Scardino first performed this procedure on six obese women. Since then, bariatric surgeons have continued to refine the procedure and make it more effective at helping patients achieve significant weight loss. In 2005, approximately 250,000 people underwent gastric bypass surgery in the United States. With that many surgeries being performed each year, there are also many different options available to choose from. One option is the gastric band which was developed by Dr. Robert Bostock, who specializes in minimally invasive bariatric procedures. Another popular method is known as the gastric sleeve procedure, in which the upper part of the stomach is cut off — leaving behind just the lower 70 percent of the stomach’s capacity. This means that the patient must rely solely upon nutrients found in food. Both these surgical methods are considered restrictive because they limit how much food can be eaten. During gastric sleeve surgery, your stomach is stapled to create a new shape similar to a sleeve or tube. Then, around 80 percent of the stomach is removed. Consequently, the stomach will be much smaller after surgery, enabling you to feel full sooner and for a longer period of time. The procedure itself takes about two hours. It is performed laparoscopically, so it requires only small incisions. Patients typically remain in the hospital an average of one to two days. After discharge, most report feeling well enough to return home within 24 hours.
The gastric sleeve procedure is often recommended for those with obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and heart disease. Although these are not necessarily prerequisites for doing the surgery, having any of these conditions makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off. Many doctors recommend that patients wait until they’ve lost at least 30 pounds before undergoing the gastric sleeve procedure. While some patients may experience minor complications during their recovery, the overall success rate is between 85 and 90 percent. However, if you’re considering surgery, consult your doctor regarding all possible risks involved.
This article will focus on what happens during the actual surgery and what you should expect once you wake up from anesthesia. We’ll take a look at why removing a large portion of the stomach helps promote faster weight loss and discuss the potential side effects associated with the surgery. Finally, we’ll talk about exactly how long the entire process generally lasts.
Why do so few people actually undergo gastric sleeve surgery? Many think that it is too complicated. But actually performing the surgery is far simpler than most people realize. Surgeons use standard tools and equipment, including trocars (small tubes inserted into the abdomen), a specialized camera and forceps. They perform the surgery through several small abdominal incisions, rather than larger ones needed for other types of bariatric operations. Laparoscopic surgery involves inserting tiny cameras and instruments into the body through special “ports,” which are small cuts made in the navel or left chest area. Once inside the body, the surgeon operates using three-dimensional images produced by the computer screen. As opposed to open surgery, where the surgeon uses his hands to operate, laparoscopic techniques allow him to see everything better and avoid causing unnecessary damage to surrounding tissues.
What Happens During the Procedure?
When the patient is lying down, he is asked to bend forward slightly. An IV line is placed into the arm and fluids are given through it. These fluids help control bleeding and prevent pain, both of which would otherwise occur during surgery. When the patient lies back down, a thin plastic plate covers his chest and abdomen. This plate provides protection against internal organs while the patient recovers. To begin, the surgeon connects a small device called the port monitor to the IV line. He adjusts its settings according to the type of surgery he plans to perform. For example, general surgery usually needs a higher voltage than orthopedic surgery does. Next, he inserts a small probe into the stomach via one of the ports. Using the monitor, he sees pictures taken from this probe, allowing him to determine whether the size of the sleeve meets his requirements. If not, he makes adjustments accordingly. During surgery, the patient is connected to a gas analyzer, which measures carbon dioxide levels. If the levels get too low, the surgeon knows that something went wrong and he must stop immediately.
Once the surgeon determines that the correct size sleeve has been created, he removes the staples that hold the stomach together. This enables the patient to ingest foods without worrying about them spilling out. Next, he opens the top part of the pouch, creating room for the stomach sleeve. He then places sutures along the bottom of the stomach sleeve, which will stay closed. At this point, the patient is ready to start eating and drinking. He continues doing so for about four weeks, while his digestive system gets accustomed to the new size and function. Eventually, he will need to eat smaller amounts of food every few hours. Most patients can resume normal activities within a day or two following surgery.
What Side Effects May Occur?
After recovering from surgery, patients can expect mild nausea and discomfort. Some may feel nauseated for a short time after waking up, but this passes quickly. Other common symptoms include vomiting, flatulence and diarrhea. All of these issues are caused by the fact that the patient no longer has a large amount of space in his stomach. Doctors advise patients to drink plenty of liquids to combat dehydration.
Most patients don’t experience severe side effects. Others may notice scar tissue forming under the skin near the port sites. Fortunately, the scarring doesn’t cause problems unless it becomes infected. Infections require antibiotics, which are administered intravenously. Rarely, infections can spread throughout the body and result in serious illness.
In addition to medical concerns, there are psychological factors to consider as well. Research shows that many patients experience anxiety prior to and after surgery, especially if they haven’t dieted for a long time. Studies show that gastric bypass surgery results in significantly greater weight loss than other forms of weight loss therapy. So even though the surgery is painful, it also offers tremendous benefits.
How Long Does The Whole Process Generally Last?
It depends on the individual patient. Some go through the whole thing in less than a week. Typically, it takes about two weeks before the patient feels comfortable going back to work and returning to normal daily routines.
If you want to find out if a certain lifestyle change could improve your chances of losing weight permanently, speak to your physician. He or she can provide information on various surgical treatments and offer advice based on your specific situation.
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