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Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Sleeve Gastrectomy)

What is a gastric sleeve?

Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is weight loss surgery that has dramatically increased in popularity over recent years.

Gastric sleeve is a restrictive procedure where the capacity of your stomach is dramatically reduced by about 75% in order to aid substantial long-term weight loss. As a result, your overall health usually improves too.

How does a gastric sleeve work?

A gastric sleeve works by permanently removing a large portion of your stomach. As the capacity of your stomach is vastly reduced, it can only hold a small portion of food. You will feel full after eating much less food and be less hungry between meals.

The sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve is an operation where a long thin tube is created from the inside of the stomach the remaining stomach is remove dafter this procedure the patient remains on liquids for a period of time but thereafter once they start eating.

The small stomach rapidly fills the patient feels contented with a much smaller meal and goes on hopefully to lose a meaningful amount away.

A sleeve gastrectomy also removes the part of your stomach that produces the hunger stimulating hormone ghrelin. This means that your appetite is reduced. 

Weight loss starts as soon as you have had the operations. After 18 months the sleeve stretches so it is important to maintain sensible portion sizes and not wait for the sleeve to stop you eating. If you eat the recommended foods (not soft or liquids), you will not feel hungry. You would need to take vitamins for life including quarterly B12 injections.

How much does a gastric sleeve cost?

Gastric sleeve surgery typically costs between £7,000 and £11,000 throughout the UK. Ramsay Health Care UK charges from £8,195. This competitive gastric sleeve cost includes: 24 months aftercare that comprises appointments with specialist bariatric nurses, specialist dieticians and medical reviews.

Is a gastric sleeve right for me?

So, who is suitable for a gastric sleeve? You may be eligible for gastric sleeve surgery if:

  • You have a BMI (body mass index) score is of 40 or more
  • You have a BMI o 35 or more and you have other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure that may be improved by losing weight.
  • You are fit enough to have a general anaesthetic and surgery.
  • You are committed to losing weight and maintaining your weight loss through lifestyle and gastric sleeve diet changes.

You have tried to lose weight by eating healthily, exercising and taking relevant medicines, for at least six months and this hasn’t worked.

What happens during a gastric sleeve procedure?

Before gastric sleeve surgery you’ll be given a general anaesthetic. The procedure is performed laparoscopically, using keyhole surgery, and usually takes between an hour and an hour and a half.

Your weight loss surgeon will make several small cuts in your stomach and insert a long, thin telescope with a light and camera lens at one end, called a laparoscope and other surgical instruments to remove a large part of your stomach. Once removed they will seal your pouch using staples into the shape of a narrow tube.

Aftercare and recovery

After gastric sleeve surgery you’ll stay in hospital for two to three days.

You are likely to need pain relief. You can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

You’ll only be able to drink clear fluids the first day after surgery. You will then remain on a liquid diet for several weeks, progressing to soft, moist foods, and eventually after four to six weeks you’ll add solid foods.

Your weight loss surgeon or a dietitian will discuss your strict gastric sleeve diet. You will need small portions as your stomach will fill quickly.

You should rest after surgery and avoid straining your wound. We recommend that you have someone around to help you with everyday activities in the early days.

Most people can return to their normal activities within two to four weeks following gastric sleeve surgery. You should discuss when to return to work and begin exercise with your weight loss surgeon.

Complications and side effects

You may experience some gastric sleeve side effects such as pain, bruising and swelling around your wounds, and vomiting or feeling sick after eating more than your new small stomach can hold. You should try to chew your food well, eat smaller portions and stick to your gastric sleeve diet plan.

Possible complications of any operation include: bleeding or a blood clot, pain and wound infection. Complications associated with gastric sleeve surgery include:

  • Stomach scarring that creates bowel blockage.
  • Inflamed stomach lining (gastritis), stomach ulcers or heartburn.
  • Injury to the adjacent organs.
  • Staple line leakage and serious infection.

Your weight loss surgeon will discuss possible complications and side effects in detail with you before you decide to have gastric sleeve surgery.

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