The Results of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery has a high success rate for obese people who have been unable to lose weight through other treatment methods.

However, the risks associated with this type of surgery can vary depending on your health condition before the procedure. Still, it is generally safe if you meet certain criteria, such as being over 18 years old and having a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 40 or an age-related medical condition like diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea, or hypertension.

Weight loss is the optimum goal and the most critical measure of the effectiveness of gastric sleeve surgery. In surgical procedures, the outcome always depends on many factors. These factors may be patient-specific factors, the type of operation and the competency of the surgeon. 

In gastric sleeve surgery, the amount and rate of weight loss are influenced by the surgeon's competence and technique and the patient's ability to maintain healthy dietary and exercise habits. To know more about results after gastric sleeve surgery, check out this link.

What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

This is a procedure that removes between 70 and 80 per cent of your stomach. When the surgery is complete, your stomach will be the size of a tube or a 'sleeve' that looks similar to a hot dog. This surgery is very effective and causes hormone changes within the body that help curb hunger, so you eat less.

What Are Gastric Sleeve's Risks and Benefits?

After gastric sleeve surgery, you will only be able to eat about half a cup of food at a time. When you eat less food than before, you take in fewer calories. This is how you lose weight.

This surgery is permanent. It can improve the health of obese people who have had trouble losing weight and keeping it off. The safety of gastric sleeves and other weight-loss surgeries is similar to other kinds of surgeries.

Deaths from this surgery are rare. It has few complications when performed by a skilled surgeon. When complications do happen, they can have a range of impacts. Some complications are minor. Others can be life-altering.

Acute complications are those that occur shortly after surgery. They may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Blood clots
  • Anastomotic leaks (leaks that happen in the connections made during the surgery)

These complications are long-term. This means they may last for up to six months after surgery. They may also appear up to six months after surgery.

It is still possible to eat too much after this surgery. If you do, you may not lose much weight. Your surgeon will give you a post-surgical plan. Following the plan will help you avoid complications.

How Gastric Sleeve Compares to Other Surgeries

A gastric sleeve is just one type of bariatric or weight loss surgery. There are differences between each type. Discuss all the options with your healthcare provider before deciding on surgery. This will help you make the best choice.

Keep these two things in mind:

  • A gastric sleeve is permanent. This is different from the gastric band procedure. A gastric band "cinches" the stomach to divide it into two pouches. A gastric band can be removed if there is a problem. The part of the stomach removed with the sleeve procedure cannot be replaced if there are problems.  
  • You may not lose as much weight with a gastric sleeve. Compared to gastric sleeve patients, gastric bypass patients usually lose more weight. They also tend to keep more weight off in the long term. But bypass patients can have their long-term challenges.

Weight Loss Percentage Rate After Gastric Sleeve

At each stage of your journey, your weight depends on several factors, such as the surgeon's skills, starting weight, diet, lifestyle, age, race, and health-related issues. However, here is an average sleeve Weight Loss Timeline at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months milestones:

Expected Rate of Weight Loss in 3 Months

You will follow the post-op diet and gradually transition from liquid to solid food. As a result, you can expect a quick surge in your weight loss in the first 3 months following surgery. You could lose an average of 25-35%* excess weight – between 30 and 40 pounds.

Expected Rate of Weight Loss in 6 Months

At this stage of your journey, your weight loss continues but at a slower pace. In 6 months after the surgery, you will lose an average of 45-55%* of your body excess weight – an average of one to two pounds per week.

Expected Rate of Weight Loss in 1 Year

You should be getting close to your goal weight in one year after sleeve surgery. Of course, not everyone loses all the excess weight in this stage. You will lose an average of 65-70%* of your body excess weight.

Expected Rate of Weight Loss in 18 Months

Expect your weight loss to level off in 1.5 years after undergoing the sleeve procedure. In general, you can expect to lose 70-80%* or more of your body excess weight in 18 months.

This depends on your body and your individual goals. Talk to your doctor about what your ideal weight should be after sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Some people can lose 50 to 100 pounds over time. Other people might lose a little less or a little more.

The important thing to keep in mind is that there will be some big adjustments to your life after surgery that will be key to experiencing a positive result. The amount of weight loss depends on your starting weight and how well you follow the diet and physical activity plans.

This will include following a new diet plan and coming up with a new exercise routine that will keep you active and moving. Eliminating carbohydrates and carbonated drinks is key, and instead of eating three big meals a day, you will need to train yourself to eat various smaller meals throughout the day.

Your body – especially your digestive system – goes through many big changes during and after gastric sleeve surgery. Unfortunately, that means that how you were eating before surgery won't work anymore. So don't be afraid to ask lots of questions to talk to your doctor and nutritionist.

And most importantly, be patient. Although laparoscopic surgery reduces the amount of post-op rehab time, it will still take up to a year or more to reach your target weight. However, your new body will be well worth all of your efforts into your new lifestyle adjustments.

The weight loss timeline isn't necessarily dependent on the pounds per week you've lost, but that you've reached target weight at six, 12, and 18 months post-surgery. That you're staying on the diet plan and physical activity years after surgery to keep the weight off.

Our team at WeightWise is on your side! We advocate for your health. Contact us today to see if you are a candidate for gastric sleeve surgery. You'll meet with our bariatric surgeons, who will consider your body mass index, discuss your health history and what your expected weight loss will be.

Gastric sleeve, Duodenal switch, and gastric bypass surgery is just the first step. After that, you will be making wholesale changes to your lifestyle that will stay with you for the rest of your life. 

How Gastric Sleeve Impacts Weight and Nutrition

Weight loss is the goal of gastric sleeve surgery, but there is a chance you may not lose as much weight as you hoped. It is also possible you will lose weight but gain it back.

Because you're eating fewer calories, you're also getting fewer nutrients. That could lead to deficiencies or a shortage of the nutrients your body needs.

Failure to Lose Weight

Sometimes the surgery doesn't help the patient lose weight. This can happen if the stomach pouch is too large. It may also happen when the patient doesn't follow post-surgery instructions. There can also be other issues that prevent weight loss.5

Regaining Weight

In the first days after surgery, the stomach pouch can only hold about half a cup of food. Over time, the pouch stretches. If you eat larger meals, weight loss may stop. You may even gain weight. 

Weight gain, if it happens at all, usually starts in the third year after surgery. Weight loss surgery is a great tool for weight loss, but patients also need to change their habits. Patients who don't permanently change their habits may gain back some or all of the weight they lost.5

Nutritional Problems

Many gastric bypass surgeries change your body's ability to absorb nutrients. This does not happen with gastric sleeve surgery. Still, patients may have trouble getting good nutrition. This is because when you eat fewer calories, you take in fewer nutrients. This can be worse if you have diarrhea and nausea.

If this happens, a whole foods diet may not be enough to keep you healthy.5 Malnutrition, a failure to get enough nutrients, is very serious. Your healthcare provider may suggest vitamins and minerals, medication, or other things to help you stay healthy.6 

Food Intolerance

You do not need to avoid certain foods after gastric sleeve surgery. This is different from other kinds of weight-loss surgeries. But that doesn't mean you can eat anything you want.

A 2018 study found that gastric sleeve patients had trouble digesting some foods, such as:

  • Red meat
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread

Researchers think this is simply because patients aren't able to eat as much food at one time.

Weight Loss Outcomes Vary on Gastric Sleeve Surgeons

Thus if we plot these weight loss percentages of different surgeons on the graph, the shape of the graph will follow the standard distribution curve (bell curve). The average performing doctors will be within 95% of the curve, while the poor performing surgeons will be 2.5SD below the mean (to the extreme left of the curve), and the best surgeons will be 2.5SD above the average (to the absolute right of the doctor).

Suppose a surgeon resects less than the appropriate portion of the stomach during gastric sleeve surgery. In that case, the patient will have a relatively higher appetite, eat more and weight loss will be suboptimal. Thus, knowing that your overall weight loss is partly dependent on the surgeon who will perform your gastric sleeve surgery, it is part of your preparation to get the best of the surgeon to perform your operation to achieve maximum weight reduction.

What Can You Realistically Expect?

Even though our timeline of average weight loss should give you some idea, it's only an average weight loss. Your actual weight loss can be more or less than that.

Ultimately, it was up to you and how hard and dedicated you are postoperative. Are you sticking to your post-op diet? Are you making exercise a regular part of your routine? Many variables contribute to your expected weight loss; many will depend on issues you can control.

Gastric sleeve surgery may cause complications. Patients can have physical symptoms that last a long time after surgery. In addition, medical and mental health problems may also happen. Therefore, it is important to discuss all the possible complications with your healthcare provider before choosing this surgery.

Healthcare providers want surgery to be safe. One way they improve safety is by looking at 10-year outcomes. Over time, researchers track things like:

  • How patients keep weight off
  • How healthy they are
  • What complications they have had

This surgery is relatively new. There isn't as much 10-year data as there is for other surgeries. This list of complications may grow over time.

You should feel good about your choice to have surgery. Your healthcare provider can explain the risks and complications. Your healthcare provider may also suggest other treatments. This will help you make the best choice for yourself.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery FAQs

Stage 1 –fluids

Weeks 1 to 2

Start with sips and gradually increase the amount you take in one go. All drinks should be smooth without bits or lumps. Immediately after surgery, you'll need to drink clear fluids only such as water, dilute squash, tea (including herbal, fruit, green), clear broth and apple juice.

You'll then begin to introduce nutritional liquids such as skimmed milk, smooth soups, Marmite and Bovril drinks, homemade smoothies, unsweetened fruit juices, and meal replacement drinks such as Nestle Build Up, Complan and Slimfast.

Aim to have a minimum of 2.5 litres each day to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Stage 2 –pureed foods

Weeks 3 to 4

Once you tolerate liquids, you can start on pureed foods. Blend your food well so that it's lump-free and of a yoghurt-like texture.

You could try soggy Weetabix or Ready Brek, blended tinned fruit, blended fish in sauce, mashed potato, humous, liquidised meat or fish stew with liquidised vegetables and liquidised pasta and thick creamy soups.

Try to have four to six meals a day of one to two tablespoons per meal and gradually increase this to a maximum of four tablespoons. Make sure you include protein in each meal. Have one pint of milk a day which can be used for bland foods. Do drink at mealtimes.

Stage 3 - soft foods

Weeks 5 to 6

Start adding soft foods and lumps to your diet. Ideas include minced meats, fish, cauliflower cheese, cottages cheese, canned or soft fruit, scrambled eggs, cooked vegetables, rice and pasta.

Reduce your meals down to three to four per day and avoid eating in between.

Stage 4 – normal diet

Weeks 6 to 8

After six weeks, you should be able to resume a normal solid food diet. Your gastric sleeve will allow you to eat almost any type or texture of food. You should aim for three well-balanced meals each day.

Your calorie intake should be between 1000 and 1200kcal per day.

Foods to avoid

Food may taste and be tolerated differently from before surgery. For example, you may find that dairy is harder to digest. In addition, chewy meats, white bread, fibrous fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and rice can cause some people problems. Avoid these foods initially and introduce them slowly, one at a time, once a normal diet has been established so that you can observe your reaction.

Avoid or minimise food high in fat and sugar such as crisps, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, sweets and other confectionary foods to help you reach your weight loss targets.

Before you leave the hospital, you will be given care instructions and a diet plan to follow. After undergoing major surgery and consuming very few calories, it's normal to feel exhausted. Your body will devote most of its energy to healing, so plan on resting quite a bit the first few days back home. 

Take into consideration the layout of your home. Are there stairs? If so, will you have to climb steps to get to your bedroom? How easy is it to get to the bathroom? While light activities like brief walks are recommended, climbing stairs and standing or walking for too long can be challenging, so it is important to consider these questions ahead of time. 

Post-surgery side effects will vary, and most go away over time, but adjusting to the new diet and lifestyle brings its own set of challenges. 

Here are a few things you may experience while recovering from gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Nausea – After surgery, you will have to re-learn how and what to eat. Your stomach will be a fraction of the size it used to be. As you gradually begin incorporating more food, especially solid food, you will have to determine what your stomach can handle. Eating or drinking too much or too fast can result in nausea or vomiting.  
  • Feeling Weak – Consuming fewer calories can cause you to feel weak or tired. As your body adjusts to the new diet, this feeling should dissipate. 
  • Aches and Pains – It is normal to experience some discomfort during your recovery process; however, aches and pains should lessen as time goes on. If pain continues or gets worse, you should talk to your doctor about possible causes and pain relief options.
  • Digestive Irregularities – You may experience side effects like constipation, diarrhea and gurgling noises coming from your stomach. These symptoms are usually diet-related and will improve over time.
  • Temporary Hair Loss and Skin Changes – Experiencing hair loss after surgery can be alarming, but it is temporary. The initial low-calorie intake and rapid weight loss can cause hair thinning and hormonal changes, contributing to skin texture and acne changes. To minimise these effects, take a multivitamin regularly and make sure you are consuming enough daily protein based on your diet plan.   

Having a slender waist without undertaking hard diets

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is a restrictive surgery. By having gastric sleeve surgery, your food intake substantially decreases, and you would be unable to eat as you used to. You feel full after eating a small amount of food, and you would not go hungry at least for 6 hours. three photos of a woman with different weights

The medical operation not only decreases the size of your stomach but also balances your appetite hormones called ghrelin and gruelling, leading to a substantial decrease in your food cravings and controlling your blood sugar. As a result, you lose 60% to 70% of your weight after the first year without undergoing crash diets.

No extra device insertion in the body

Unlike gastric banding surgery or gastric balloon, no foreign object is inserted into the body. In gastric banding, a band is put around the upper part of the patient's stomach to separate it from the lower part and limit the amount of food one can eat. By eliminating the need to place any object or instrument in the patient's body while undergoing sleeve gastrectomy operation, patients sustain lower infection levels and less pain after recovery.

No functional disorder

After the sleeve gastrectomy operation, the banana-shaped stomach functions normally. Therefore, patients would have no difficulties eating different types of foods or digesting them, as it does not change patients' digestive systems. This operation, in essence, restricts only the amount of food intake. Furthermore, given that there is no need for an intestinal bypass, the intestines remain intact during the surgery.

Therefore, sleeve gastrectomy helps patients experience fewer stomach ulcers and helps them steer clear of physical side effects such as dumping, anemia, and intestinal blockage. Besides, People who had sleeve gastrectomy are less likely to suffer from vitamin and micro-nutrient deficiencies, normal in gastric bypass.

Fast recovery

The recovery process after the surgery is speedy. The whole process of sleeve gastrectomy operation lasts about 1-2 hours. You are required to stay in the hospital for at least one or two nights. The recovery process is quite fast, and patients could immediately move around and return to daily routines.

You may sometimes be in pain, but it quickly subsides by taking some painkillers. This condition, finally, ceases to exist within a few days. After about one month, the patient can generally eat solid food but in small portions. 

A big change in life quality and psychological status

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery helps patients go through the weight-loss process and experience a marked improvement in the quality of their lives. The patients feel more confident and can actively engage in more physical activities. Based on reported statistics, following sleeve gastrectomy surgery, patients have seen a sharp decline in anxiety and depression, and the number of unemployment and singlehood has significantly reduced.

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