Weight Loss Surgery - Gastric Sleeve

This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to make the stomach smaller and limit the amount of food that can be eaten.

This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to make the stomach smaller and limit the amount of food that can be eaten.

A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is a type of weight loss surgery that uses small medical instruments and a camera to make the stomach smaller.

  • The instruments are inserted into three or four small incisions in the abdomen.
  • A large part of the stomach is removed, making it smaller, tube-shaped and resistant to stretching.
  • The smaller stomach limits the amount of food that can be eaten. It also does not secrete as much of a hormone called ghrelin. This decreases the sensation of hunger.

A sleeve gastrectomy may be done to help someone lose weight before having a more extensive type of weight loss surgery.

Some benefit plans may provide coverage for weight loss surgery if you meet certain requirements and/or receive prior authorization. Please review your coverage documents and/or call the number on the back of your ID card for more information.

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity. It is just one of the tools used to enhance weight loss. Certain lifestyle changes are necessary for weight loss surgery to be successful. Some lifestyle changes include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Following recommendations of your healthcare providers

Prior to considering weight loss surgery, you should know your BMI, or Body Mass Index. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has an online tool to help you determine your BMI. An example of criteria commonly used to determine if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery includes:

  • Severe obesity that has been present for over five years and has not responded to diet, exercise and medication.
  • A BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or more. For men, that typically means at least 100 pounds overweight. For women, it typically means at least 80 pounds overweight.
  • A BMI (Body Mass Index) of 35 along with another medical condition that could be improved by weight loss (i.e., diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure or heart disease).
  • You do not have a significant mental illness or active dependence on drugs or alcohol. This is to make sure you will be able to follow all of the instructions given to you after your surgery.

Before any weight loss surgery, you will meet with a dietician and mental health provider. The goal of these visits is to teach you about the significant lifestyle changes you must make for a positive outcome. Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • A special diet and exercise program
  • Medications you should not take before the procedure, such as blood thinners or aspirin
  • Regular medications you should continue to take before your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the surgery

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking. It can interfere with your recovery.

During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.

  • General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia for this surgery.
  • It is when you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything.

If there are no complications to your surgery, you may stay in the hospital for about three to five days.

  • During the first day or two, you will not be able to eat.
  • You may have a tube in your nose to keep your stomach empty.
  • When you are ready to eat, you will start with liquids and pureed food.

Prior to going home, make sure you understand:

  • What type of surgery you had
  • Your treatment plan, including follow-up classes and visits with a dietician
  • What symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider
  • All home care instructions (including medications and side effects)
  • Your follow-up plans

Pain medication and help at home will be needed while you recover. Your surgeon should let your primary care physician know the details of your surgery and treatment plan.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having weight loss surgery?

  • Are there any alternatives to weight loss surgery? What are the benefits and risks of each?
  • How long should I try lifestyle changes or medication before considering weight-loss surgery?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each weight loss surgery?
  • Which type of weight loss surgery is best for me? Why are you recommending that particular weight loss surgery?
  • What kind of sedation will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? How will I have to modify my lifestyle and diet?
  • What is your experience in performing this type of surgery? How many of these procedures have you performed? What is your complication rate?
  • How many of your patients who have had this surgery have maintained their weight loss after two years? After five years?
  • Is the facility at which you perform weight loss surgery designated as a Center of Excellence? If so, what organization made that designation? On what basis was that designation made?
  • How long will it take me to recover?
  • What programs do you have to help me adjust to the surgery and achieve my weight loss goals?

Do not forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Weight Loss Surgery - Gastric Sleeve
Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Gain
Gastric Bypass
Bariatric Surgery

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