Top 5 questions asked about Gastric Sleeve Surgery

How do you qualify for gastric sleeve surgery?
When you are seeking gastric sleeve surgery as a resolution to weight loss, your BMI will be considered, as well as the co-morbidities, or health related impacts you have that are created by carrying excess weight. Health complications such as insulin dependent or non-insulin dependent type diabetes, osteoarthritis/joint deterioration, GERD, cardiovascular risk profile will all be taken into account when assessing your requirement for WLS. Your individual case and goals will determine whether VSG (vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) or gastric bypass surgery is a more suitable option. Each brings their own benefits and implications over the longer term.

How long does it take to recover from gastric sleeve?

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy is a type of Keyhole surgery which is carried out under general anaesthetic by a Bariatric Surgeon, or Upper GI Surgeon. For Gastric Band patients Gastric Sleeve Surgery is often the next step in the journey towards health and weight goals. The band is removed, and a short time later, the Gastric Sleeve is performed. Small incisions are made in the abdominal area, and using a camera as a guide, your surgeon locates and removes up to 70% of the stomach pouch (fundus) during the operation. The remaining ''Sleeve'' is sutured together using a stapling device. Five or six small incisions are evident on the abdominal area, and the total recovery period from the surgery is about 3-6 weeks.

Time in hospital after your surgery will depend on your surgeon’s guidelines. Most are keen to make sure you are safe, recovering as expected and that pain is managed well. It’s important you are drinking well and tolerating the liquids introduced in the first stage post-surgery.

Safety is always first, so always be guided by your professional team for your unique situation. Average hospital stay is 1-5 days. The first few stages of introducing liquids and purees are aimed at preventing overstretching of the staple line of the revised sleeve or stomach.  After this delicate stage, solid foods are slowly reintroduced and return to a healthy and varied diet is encouraged.
Patients are monitored closely for the first year to ensure that patients are maintaining healthy levels of certain nutrients in their blood, as the surgery does bring with it some implications of malabsorption and malnutrition which needs to be maintained with daily supplementation with a specifically tailored  Multivitamin for life after any type of Bariatric Surgery.  The surgery changes the absorption of calcium, Vitamin B12, iron and some fat soluble vitamins so daily supplementation for life is a part of your commitment to the lifestyle.  This is a non-negotiable part of keeping you safe and healthy long term.

How much weight will I lose with sleeve gastrectomy?
Weight loss is individual and can be dependent on starting weight. Generally, the ideal of the surgery is of course losing weight - but more about gaining health. Your team will suggest a goal weight that would bring you back to a ‘healthy’ BMI. This is to be used as a guide.  Weight can fluctuate, and body composition needs to be considered as a whole rather than just weight on the scales. Always ask to have your body composition measured and use that as a guide rather than actual weight.

What does a gastric sleeve do?
Gastric Sleeve Surgery is the removal of a large percentage of the stomach.
Rapid weight loss eventuates due to restriction (small amount of room available for food) and malabsorption of some energy from your food. New dietary guidelines and lifestyle accompany this tool - and the implementation of healthy living will be a large factor in ensuring the long term success of this type of Weight Loss Surgery. There are other types of WLS procedures, such as Mini Bypass and Rouxen -Y Gastric Bypass, and your health professionals will educate you on the best solution for your situation and long term goals.

How much overweight do you have to be to get gastric sleeve?
Patients exploring Bariatric Surgery will be assessed by a health care professional. BMI is a factor considered when weighing up if WLS is the solution for you, as well as assessing any other health implications you are experiencing as a result of the amount of weight gain experienced. Each case is unique. Accessing your Superannuation for payment of the surgery has its own criteria and would need to be explored via the correct avenues.

How long does it take to get approved for gastric sleeve surgery?
The approval process for WLS can depend on many factors and you will be guided carefully on this by your team. Approval can be dependent on whether you are insured by a Private Health Fund, Self-Funded, or whether you qualify for accessing your Superannuation to pay for your surgery and anaesthetics. Seek guidance from the relevant institutions and read the requirements carefully to prevent delays from lack of information provided or supporting documents.