Gastric Sleeve Checklist: Things to Know Before Having Bariatric Surgery

Below is a list of things to internalize before undergoing gastric sleeve surgery in Tijuana, Mexico. Major considerations include post-surgery diet, pre-op diet, candidacy and cost. 

Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeves, helps to restrict the amount of food that one eats by reducing the overall size of the stomach. This minimally-invasive weight loss surgery procedure creates a stomach that is about the size of a banana. It is far easier than the gastric bypass procedure as it doesn’t need to reconnect or reroute the intestines at all. It also doesn’t require a band like the gastric banding surgery.

What are some benefits of having Gastric Sleeve versus other surgery types?

The University of California, San Diego reports that gastric sleeve surgery leads to faster weight loss than that of gastric banding. They also report that patients experience less food intolerances and there is no risk of erosion or slippage as there is no implanted device internally. Also, the risks for gastric sleeve overall are lower than that of gastric bypass, however the amount of weight loss is comparable to that invasive procedure.

Overall, Gastric Sleeve is an excellent weight loss surgery, with high expected weight loss and low rates of complications, risks and side effects. 

Is Gastric Sleeve surgery reversible?

Since the surgery doesn’t involved reconfiguring the intestines, there is no need for reversal. It is considered the safest surgical procedure available for weight loss surgery as it is the least invasive.

Who qualifies for gastric sleeve surgery?

Generally an individual with a body mass index (more than 40) that is typically 100 pounds or more overweight or with a BMI of 35-39.9 with one comorbidity of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Type II Diabetes is eligible for this surgery. The patient must have failed at losing weight the traditional way. Many hospitals will only operate on those 18 years and older, however some teenagers may be eligible depending on their health.

Who is Gastric Sleeve Surgery not recommended for?

Generally gastric sleeve surgery may not be right for those with ulcers, gastrointestinal tract conditions or Crohn’s diseases. Also those with bleeding in the stomach or esophagus may not be able to have gastric sleeve surgery.

What are some risks and complications associated with Gastric Sleeve surgery?

The National Institutes of Health reports that some risks and complications associated with gastric sleeve include: bladder, kidney or lung infection, heart attack or stroke during surgery itself, blood clots in the legs, vomiting, blood loss, gastritis, poor nutrition and bowel blockage.

Is Gastric Sleeve surgery expensive and will insurance cover it?

Many insurance companies will cover weight loss surgery especially if the patient has comorbidities that may contribute to future health issues. Their insurance plan will cover all or a portion of the surgery. Your surgeon can discuss with you if your surgery is a covered benefit and what you can expect to pay for the procedure out of pocket. In order to make the surgery eligible, a surgeon must document weight loss attempts, the current medications a patient is taking as well as information about the health conditions a patient has that are associated with their obesity.

How long will I be in the hospital following surgery?

Most patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 days following their gastric sleeve surgery. This time period may vary depending on the patient’s health and if any complications arise following their procedure.

How much weight can I plan to lose with Gastric sleeve surgery?

Typically weight loss occurs fastest about 6-8 weeks after surgery. Many patients lose an average of 65% of their excess weight in the year to 18 months after surgery, the Spire Manchester Hospital reports.

How will my diet change after surgery?

Patients will be on a liquid diet following surgery then a soft foods diet will be incorporated after a four to six week period, depending on how the body is tolerating the food.

Will I be taking more vitamins after surgery?

It is important that patients take a multivitamin twice a day as well as Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, iron and calcium following gastric sleeve surgery.

Will I lose my hair?

Not all gastric sleeve patients lose their hair. According to the University of Missouri Health System, if a patient does not get enough protein after their surgery then protein malnutrition may occur leading to hair loss.

Can I take my regular medicine?

Many medications are safe after gastric sleeve surgery. Some of them include Colace, Imodium, Dulcolax, Enemas, Claritin, Milk of Magnesia, Gas-X and others. Discuss with your doctor and/or surgeon about your medications before beginning to take them again.