Common Questions from Gastric Sleeve Patients

Before any major medical event, most of us have questions.  We have compiled a list that our staff at Balette Bariatric Center in The Woodlands answers on a regular basis.  If you ever have questions about your upcoming procedure don’t be afraid to ask Dr. Balette or any staff members.  We are always happy to answer your questions about pre-op, surgical, or post-op questions.

Is gastric sleeve safe?

The gastric sleeve procedure is safer than other weight-loss procedures. This is a great option for patients with obesity who want to permanently lose weight without any side effects.

Gastric Sleeve surgery is very simple when performed by an experienced and competent surgeon. Gastric sleeve surgery is not a weight-loss procedure that requires the surgeon to make a new connection between your stomach and small bowel. The chances of long-term complications are very low.

After undergoing a gastric sleeve, there is almost no chance of developing an internal hernia or marginal ulcers. Patients who have undergone other weight-loss surgery are more likely to experience these complications.

What are the advantages of gastric sleeve op?

This procedure has one main benefit: dramatic weight loss. However, that’s not all.

Patients who have gastric sleeve are able to lose nearly 70% of their excess body weight and also enjoy other important benefits such as:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Type 2 Diabetes long-term remission
  • Permanent relief from sleep apnea obstructive
  • Joint pain relief
  • Social isolation and depression can be treated
  • Gallbladder disease can be treated
  • Female patients can get relief from pregnancy complications
  • Increased fertility

How painful is gastric sleeve op?

You will be given a safe dose of anesthesia before your surgery to ensure that you don’t feel any discomfort or pain. You may feel a slight tugging sensation at your incisions, but that is it.

Although very few people feel any pain after the procedure, it is not something that can be treated with pain medication.

Talking to your surgeon about questions and answers regarding your gastric sleeve procedure will allow you to ask about pain medication options in the event that you feel any pain.

Is it possible to drink alcohol after a gastric sleeve is removed?

You should not start drinking right away. For at least six months following your gastric sleeve procedure, you must refrain from drinking alcohol. Talk to your surgeon about whether alcohol is a good idea. Each person is unique and you may be allowed to have small amounts of alcohol depending on your situation.

How long does it take to recover from gastric sleeve operation?

After a procedure, most people will need to stay in hospital for at least 1-3 days. Within 3-5 weeks, they can resume their normal activities.

As we mentioned, each patient is unique. Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery refers to the procedure whereby the surgeon makes multiple small cuts. The recovery time is shorter for smaller cuts.

If the surgeon must perform an “open” stomach sleeve procedure it will require a bigger cut. The healing process can be longer in this situation. Talk to your surgeon about your expected recovery time.

Which is better, gastric bypass or gastric sleeve?

It depends. For obese individuals who wish to lose between 60%-70% of their body weight in 12-18 months, gastric sleeve surgery may be the best option. Gastric Sleeve Surgery is an effective first step in lowering your body weight if you have a Body Mass Index of 50+.

Gastric bypass surgery can be a great option for those who want to lose between 50% and 80% of their excess weight in 12-18 months. Gastric bypass surgery is better for patients with a 40+ BMI.

How much weight do you lose each month after a gastric sleeve operation?

After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, you can expect to lose between 30 and 40 pounds in the first three months. For the next 12-15 months, you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds each week. You will be able to see how you can reach your weight loss goals if you have reviewed all the questions and answers about gastric sleeves in this guide.

After a gastric sleeve, can liquids stretch your stomach?

Not quite. After the procedure, you may feel bloated, irritable, or binge-eat. Fluids are also affected. Your stomach will be fine as long as you eat small amounts and stop eating after you feel satisfied.

Make sure to avoid drinking liquids for 30 minutes prior and/or after meals. To prevent stomach stretching, you must avoid mindless eating and drinking.

What weight loss should I expect after gastric sleeve operation?

This is the most frequently asked gastric sleeve question. Patients lose approximately 60% of excess weight within the next 12-18 months. If you’re 120 pounds overweight, you’ll lose an average of 72 pounds. Some people lose more than others, but some lose less. You’ll lose more weight if you follow the recommended diet and exercise program.

How fast can you lose weight with gastric sleeves?

Each patient who has a gastric sleeve is treated loses weight at their own pace. Our experience shows that men lose weight more quickly than women. This is not a universal observation.

During the first six weeks after surgery, you can expect to lose 3-4 lbs per week. You’ll lose 2-3 pounds each week after that. In other words, you will most likely lose between 30-40 pounds within the first three months of surgery.

After a gastric sleeve, can you open your pouch?

Most patients will experience some stretching of their pouches over time. This is normal. It is unlikely that your pouch will shrink back to its original size. Even if you have a big meal, your pouch will not shrink back to its original size.

However, you should not eat too much or drink sugary carbonated beverages after gastric sleeve procedure. They can cause your stomach pouch to stretch significantly. You can also chew your food well and take small bites to prevent your stomach pouch from stretching too much.

What medications should you avoid following a gastric sleeve operation?

After undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure, you should not take any medications such as NSAIDs, Ibuprofen, Alka Seltzers, Pepto-Bismol, Corticosteroids, or Naproxen. Patients undergoing weight loss surgery can get ulcers or other complications from these medications.

Your gastric bypass surgeon should be consulted about any current prescription medications. After your surgery, you may need to adjust the doses of medications for hypertension, depression, and diabetes.

After gastric sleeve, what pain medication should I use?

Your surgeon should be consulted about possible pain medication options after your gastric sleeve surgery. Only your surgeon can recommend the best medication for you based on your medical history, health, and age.

To give you an idea, Acetaminophen-based pain meds (like Tylenol), are safe for patients with gastric sleeve surgeries.

How successful is gastric sleeve operation?

The worldwide success rate of gastric sleeve surgery is very high. This weight loss surgery is performed annually by millions of people with amazing and visible results. If you eat well and exercise regularly, you can lose as much as 70% of your excess weight within the first year after your gastric sleeve procedure.

After gastric sleeves, I feel bloated. What should I do?

You may not feel full after having surgery.

You must consume 20g of protein daily for the first 10 days following your gastric sleeve surgery. You should then consume between 60 and 80 grams of protein each day. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, Greek yogurt, fish and low-fat cheese are all important.

You will feel fuller for longer periods of the day if you eat enough protein.

What is the pre-op diet to treat the gastric sleeve

Pre-op diets for gastric sleeve procedures generally start three weeks prior to the actual surgery. Ask your surgeon about the preoperative dietary requirements and discuss any other questions or concerns you have regarding gastric sleeve surgery.

Patients are advised to reduce their carbohydrate intake before having surgery. Before your surgery, you should reduce your intake of refined sugars (soft drinks and sweets), pasta, bread, and other carbs.

During this time, you should increase your daily protein intake. Before you have your gastric sleeve, make sure to eat lots of eggs, lean meat, chicken, salmon, and olives.

Then, approximately two to three days before your procedure, it will be necessary to change to an all-liquid diet consisting of gelatins and broth. On the day of your procedure, you will be asked not to drink or consume anything after midnight.

How do I regain my weight loss after gastric bypass?

Patients may experience weight loss stalling after undergoing a gastric bypass. A pouch reset diet is an effective and simple way to get your weight back on track.

A pouch reset diet is a great option if your pouch feels stretched or you are having trouble losing weight after a gastric sleeve procedure. A reset diet should be discussed with your surgeon for weight loss.

How long does it take to lose weight after gastric surgery?

Patients typically lose between 30% and 70% of excess weight in 12-18 months. You can expect to lose weight for at least 2 years after your gastric sleeve procedure. To maintain your new body, you will need to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

If you are interested in learning more about any bariatric or weight loss surgery options contact our offices in The Woodlands and Houston.