Gastric Sleeve is known formally as Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Gastric Sleeve is now the most commonly performed Bariatric surgical procedure used for the treatment of obesity. It provides an excellent balance of long-term, sustained weight loss together with a great quality of life.
What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
The Gastric Sleeve procedure (formally known as Sleeve Gastrectomy or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG)) is performed using a few small laparoscopic (keyhole) incisions.
The surgery creates a long, narrow stomach which is smaller in volume, at 200-300 mL instead of the usual 1000-1300 mL. The excess portion of the stomach is permanently removed.
Following a Gastric Sleeve procedure, food passes through the smaller stomach in a similar way to the originally sized one, entering the small intestine via the normal end of the stomach.
How Does the Gastric Sleeve Work?
The Gastric Sleeve procedure is successful due to several effective mechanisms all working together.
Firstly, you will now be satisfied with much smaller portions of food and feel full earlier.
Secondly, the hunger drive is diminished for at least 9-12 months, due to the removal of the top portion of the stomach (fundus) which produces a lot of the hormones that normally drive hunger (such as Ghrelin, amongst others).
The ability to absorb nutrients is essentially unchanged, although a few patients may have low levels of vitamin B12 or Iron long-term.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Pros and Cons
- Excellent weight loss success and long-term maintenance.
- Ability to tolerate a normal range of food choices.
- Good for mild to moderately controlled diabetes.
- Can improve fertility in women, with a higher likelihood of a healthy neonatal weight at full-term delivery than a Gastric Bypass. (Please note: pregnancy is not advised in the first 6-12 months after Bariatric Surgery.)
- A small number of patients may experience Vitamin B12 or Iron deficiency long-term.
Gastric Sleeve Pre-Operative Care
All patients are required to commence an Optifast-based diet for a period of 2-3 weeks, prior to Gastric Sleeve surgery. This diet induces a change to the patient’s metabolism, putting it into a Ketotic state, known as Ketosis.
During this period the patient’s diet will be restricted, with only certain additional foods allowed. Your dietitian will provide a clear direction tailored to you. There are no carbohydrates, sugars, fruits or juices permitted during this Optifast period.
The ketosis will result in fat stores coming out of the liver to provide the metabolic fuel your body needs. This reduction of liver fat stores in the lead-up is critical for the surgery, as it is necessary to retract the liver during surgery.
It ensures the liver retraction can be done safely, without the risk of damaging or tearing the liver during the procedure.
Some patients may note that they lose 5-10% of their body weight during this period. (It would be terrific if this were sustainable long-term, but Optifast isn’t sustainable over time.)
Most medications can continue until the day of surgery, and they will be recommenced post-operatively under our direction.
There are several blood thinners and anti-platelet agents which will need to be stopped 2-10 days prior to surgery depending on the particular medication. We will provide advice tailored to each patient.
Fish Oil supplements should not be consumed within 14 days of surgery.
Gastric Sleeve Post-Operative Care
The small keyhole incisions are all closed with dissolving stitches, which are all placed under the skin so that patients will never need to see them. We also use either tissue glue or steristrips and waterproof dressings, to ensure the skin heals in a clean and dry environment.
Patients can bathe or shower with these dressings in place, although they should be patted dry afterwards. The dressings are normally removed 10 days after surgery, and the incisions should have healed nicely by then.
Most patients’ post-operative discomfort has settled at the time of discharge from the hospital. However, some patients may require a small amount of oral medication, to help manage ongoing discomfort for a week or so. This can include Panadol, Panadeine Forte, Endone or occasionally other medicines.
Routine medications can be recommenced as directed in the post-operative phase. Any blood-thinning agents that patients were previously taking will also be recommenced as directed by the medical team.
Many patients will be directed to take a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) such as Nexium, Somac or Losec for a certain period after surgery, to reduce stomach acid production.
Surgery will help patients to start their weight loss journey. However, in order to achieve successful long-term results, dietary and behavioural changes are necessary.
While each patient will be given specific dietary advice based on their personal requirements, the following are very brief recommended guidelines following Gastric Sleeve surgery.
- Liquid nourishment
Weeks 2 – 4
- Pureed food
Week 4 +
- Commencement of soft solid diet.
** For more dietary information, please speak with your Body Free Dietitian, who will provide you with a more comprehensive plan.
As a guide, most patients need 2-3 nights in hospital post-op and, depending on the work in which you are employed, anywhere from 3-14 days off work.
Most patients can start walking within a few days, and more vigorous exercise can commence within 3 weeks.
Gastric Sleeve and Weight Loss Surgery – FAQs
Why choose Gastric Sleeve surgery?
If you have attempted many other more common forms of weight loss without long-term success, a Gastric Sleeve may finally set you on the right path.
Gastric Sleeves are one of the most popular weight loss surgery procedures in the world. They are an effective tool to help people achieve rapid and dramatic weight loss. A Gastric Sleeve is a safe surgery that has been performed for decades – and has helped thousands of people to finally achieve their weight loss goals.
Gastric Sleeve surgery results in the stomach being reduced in size. One of the benefits of this is reduced hunger. In removing a portion of the stomach, Gastric Sleeves also result in the removal of the fundus, or the top part of the stomach that produces the hormones that usually drive hunger.
With less production of hunger hormones such as ghrelin, patients will feel less hungry after a Gastric Sleeve.
How much weight will I lose with a Gastric Sleeve?
Most patients will lose between 25 and 35 percent of their starting weight following Gastric Sleeve Surgery. However, it is important to understand that a Gastric Sleeve is a weight loss tool and that individual results will vary from person to person.
While you will begin to lose weight soon after the procedure, there is also a variation in how the weight is shed over time for each individual. The weight loss surgery journey following Gastric Sleeve procedures normally takes from 12–18 months, with most of the weight coming off in the first 6 months.
Your individual weight loss will depend on a variety of factors, such as your starting weight and body-mass index (BMI), gender, age, exercise, diet and overall health. When you consult with one of our surgeons, we’ll be able to give you guidance about how much weight you can expect to shed after your surgery.
How long does a Gastric Sleeve last?
The effects of a Gastric Sleeve are permanent, and will help you lose or maintain a lower weight in the long term.
A Gastric Sleeve is not reversible. During the procedure part of the stomach is removed, and the remaining portion shaped into a narrower sleeve. Because of the permanent nature of this change, the stomach cannot be restored to its original shape, once the surgery is completed.
It’s precisely this long-term nature that makes the Gastric Sleeve an attractive weight loss solution. Widely considered an effective solution to obesity, Gastric Sleeves have helped thousands of people to regain freedom in their lives.
What are the long-term survival benefits?
The weight loss results of a Gastric Sleeve have positive impacts on many aspects of your overall health. Not only will it make your life more comfortable, for patients with diabetes, there is some evidence that Gastric Sleeve surgery can impact life expectancy in the long term.
For severely obese patients who are suffering from diabetes, Gastric Sleeves can drive significant weight loss as well as changes in metabolism. These changes may help to manage or even drive the remission of type 2 diabetes.
As obesity and its associated health conditions are some of the leading causes of death, a proactive step to manage your health such as Gastric Sleeve surgery may have positive consequences for your life expectancy.
How much does a Gastric Sleeve cost?
How much a Gastric Sleeve costs in Australia depends on whether you have private health insurance cover.
For patients with private health insurance that covers then for Weight Loss Surgery, BodyFree Weight Loss Clinic offers an all-inclusive Gastric Sleeve cost in Sydney of $3,750.
This means we can provide you with the best possible care for a single, fixed fee. You’ll get all the care you need, without the worry of additional Gastric Sleeve surgery costs piling up.
You can check whether your private health insurance covers Gastric Sleeve surgery, by looking up the procedure item number 31575. Please note that your private health insurer may require you to pay an excess that is not included in our Gastric Sleeve cost.
If you have Medicare but no private health insurance, we still offer fixed-price Gastric Sleeve cost in Sydney, fees start from $13,490. Please reach out to our staff for a quote.
How do you qualify for Gastric Sleeve surgery?
There are a few criteria used to determine suitability for Gastric Sleeve surgery. Our surgeons consider the patient’s BMI (Body Mass Index) and in addition, also consider the patient’s overall health and any existing medical diagnoses.
Our surgeons perform Gastric Sleeve surgery on patients with a BMI of 35 and above. There are however exceptions. With a BMI of 30-34, our Bariatric Surgeons would discuss your particular concerns, your weight loss history and weight loss attempts. They will also discuss any existing conditions such as Diabetes, PCOS, sleep apnoea, arthritis, joint issues or fertility concerns with you in order to determine suitability for the procedure.
If you would like to discuss your suitability for surgery, please give us a call on 9565 5505 and the team will be happy to provide further advice.