Friday, September 7, 2012
Gastric Sleeve Surgery - Is It For You?
If your body mass index is greater than 40, you might be a good candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery. For men, this means being about 100 pounds overweight and for women this means carrying around an excess of about 80 pounds. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), this is the requirement before a doctor can consider you for this surgery. The only exception to this rule is if you have a life-threatening illness like diabetes.
So, what is Gastric Sleeve Surgery (GSS)? This surgery is performed directly onto your stomach. It basically means removing a large slice (about 85%) of stomach area and then stapling it closed. What is left looks like a sleeve, thus the name. With a smaller stomach, it holds less food. Additionally, the area of stomach that is removed produces hormones that may cause hunger. So, without those in place, you may experience less appetite. Many insurance companies are jumping on board to pay for GSS and if not, the procedure costs a little over $10,000.
The surgery takes about two hours and you would be put under general anesthesia. Gastric Sleeve Surgery will likely require a few days of hospital stay and a few weeks of recovery time. Risks include stomach leakage, infection, blood clots and there is always the possibility that you might regain the weight over time because the stomach can stretch out again. Because of the blood clot risk, it's absolutely imperative that you stop smoking a month before and a month after the surgery.
After this surgery, your whole life will be different. Not only will you be losing up to 80% of your body weight within the first six months to a year, you will have to learn a different way to eat. The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery states that an individual who has underwent GSS will have to learn to take smaller bites, eat smaller amounts at one sitting, chew slower and more thoroughly and learn not to eat and drink at the same time. Drinking should be done about 30 minutes after a meal is finished.
So losing weight by this method can be risky business, but keeping the weight on is riskier.