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Gastric Sleeve Surgery: A New Beginning for Weight Loss and Health

Introduction

Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, has emerged as a popular weight loss surgery in Australia. This procedure is not a cosmetic intervention but a life-changing decision for individuals struggling with obesity and its related health complications. It involves the removal of a significant portion of the stomach (80%), leading to a sleeve or tube-like structure. The new small stomach can hold 3-4 spoonfuls of food – only. It effectively means that with the right diet, you will consume a lot less calories, giving you a significant weight loss. Take our 1 minute survey CLICK HERE to find out if you qualify for weight loss surgery.

The Procedure

In Australia, gastric sleeve surgery is the preferred weight loss surgery and it is performed laparoscopically (also called keyhole surgery). It involves 5 small incisions and a camera to guide the surgeon. This minimally invasive approach results in less pain, quicker recovery, and minimal scarring compared to traditional open surgeries. The procedure takes about one to two hours, and patients usually spend  1 to 2 days in the hospital for recovery.

Expected Weight Loss

The amount of weight loss varies from person to person, but on average, patients lose 60-70% of their excess weight within two years post-surgery. For instance, if an individual is 40 kilograms overweight, they can expect to lose approximately 24 to 28 kilograms. However, it’s crucial to note that the surgery is not a magic solution. Successful outcomes depend heavily on lifestyle changes and commitment to a new way of eating and living. We do see several patients who reach their goal weight within 18 months, this requires strict diet compliance and an active lifestyle.

Life After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Post-surgery, patients can expect a significant change in their eating habits. The reduced stomach size means smaller meal portions and a quicker feeling of fullness. It’s essential to adhere to a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and low in sugars and fats. Regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, including dietitians and GPs, are crucial for monitoring progress and maintaining weight loss. 

Nutritional Considerations

Due to the reduced stomach size and potential changes in digestion and absorption, patients need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for life. Common deficiencies post-surgery include iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D. A diet high protein diet is required, meaning focus on lean meats and fish to achieve the daily protein target.

Physical Activity

Incorporating physical activity is a cornerstone of maintaining weight loss and overall health post-surgery. Patients are encouraged to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, including strength training to preserve muscle mass.

Psychological Adjustments

Adapting to a new body image and lifestyle can be challenging. Many patients experience emotional changes as they adjust. Support groups and counseling can be beneficial in navigating these changes.

Long-Term Outcomes

Studies show that gastric sleeve surgery can lead to long-term weight loss and significant improvements in obesity-related conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. The quality of life generally improves, and there’s often a reduction in mortality risk associated with obesity.

Conclusion

Gastric sleeve surgery represents a powerful tool in the battle against obesity. While it offers substantial weight loss and health benefits, it requires a lifelong commitment to dietary changes, regular exercise, and medical follow-up. For those considering this surgery, it’s essential to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare professional and consider the lifestyle changes that come with it. With the right support and dedication, gastric sleeve surgery can be the start of a healthier, more active life. CLICK HERE to complete a short survey and find out if you can benefit from weight loss surgery.