Encouraged by Gastric Sleeve Results After 3 Months

Question Below Submitted By:  

Sarah (a patient from Tempe, AZ)

To Whom It May Concern:

A few weeks ago, I was reading a message board about gastric sleeve results after 3 months. I was encouraged, and decided I was going to take the leap of faith and get this surgery. Yet I still have a few questions about the procedure even after reading many of the success stories and gastric sleeve reviews online.

What does the average recovery look like for a gastric sleeve patient? Do most patients have pain? How bad is it? Does stomach pain affect their diet?

Please outline the recovery for me and what to actually expect… what can happen right after surgery that might be unexpected? Or maybe I’m just overthinking the whole thing?

Thanks! 🙂

Sarah Rice

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Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response To: Encouraged By Gastric Sleeve Results After 3 Months

by: Dr. John Rabkin, M.D.

Dear Sarah,

Most surgeons perform the Vertical Gastrectomy (VG) laparoscopically (surgery using long instruments passed through small abdominal incisions while viewing the inside of a patient's abdomen on a video monitor). The procedure generally takes 60-90 minutes of operative time. Although there are some surgeon's now performing this procedure on an outpatient basis ('23 hour stay'), most patients spend one or possibly two nights in the hospital following the VG. Patients are expected to walk within a few hours of the procedure (whether they want to or not!) in order to reduce the potential for post operative complications and are able to resume a liquid diet by the first post operative day.

Once discharged back home, patients are expected to maintain their hydration by drinking an adequate quantity of water along with electrolyte containing solutions while they slowly increase their intake of food, often times including protein supplements until they're able to adequately nourish on 'normal' food alone. Over time, VG patients progress to eating a 'normal' diet although avoidance of calorie dense foodstuffs and liquids (sugars, alcohol, etc.) is important to achieve the desired weight loss and prevent long term weight regain. Resumption of routine activities such as returning to work or school can be as soon as a week or two although some 'lifting restrictions' (exercise limitations) may remain in place for as long as six weeks following the VG.

Every patient's experience following the Vertical Gastrectomy differs. However, most VG patients tolerate the procedure quite well and the pain that they do have is easily manageable with oral analgesic medications. Most of the discomfort is from the laparoscopic port site incisions. Some patients also have mild nausea from the reduced capacity of the stomach. This may be accompanied by vomiting particulary if attempting to consume too large a quantity of liquid or food at a given time. This tends to rapidly resolve as patients become more acustomed to their new 'anatomy' of a reduced size stomach.

The Verical Gastrectomy has proven to be a very safe weight loss surgical (WLS) procedure. This is not to say that complications can't and won't occur, however. The VG is a major abdominal surgery and, as such, does carry the same general operative risks that other major abdominal surgical procedures entail such as blood clots, bleeding, infection, etc., along with several more specific to this procedure such as a gastric staple line leak.

As surgeons, we take many precautions in order to minimize the chance that a complication will occur and continuously evaluate and refine our techniques to enhance our patient's recovery following surgery. It's also important to remember that medical studies have proven that the health risks of NOT having WLS far exceed the, by comparison, reduced risks that you accept from undergoing WLS.

Overall, the VG has proven to be a very straightforward procedure with a very low complication rate that provides excellent weight loss for morbidly obese patients who have been otherwise unable to lose their excess weight.

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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