Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of bariatric surgery. During surgery, the surgeon inserts the gadget through multiple incisions (cuts) in the abdomen. Surgeons removed about 80 percent of the stomach, leaving a long, tubular stomach about the size of a banana.
Reducing the size of your stomach will limit the amount of food you can eat, which can help you lose weight quickly. Surgery can also cause hormonal changes that make you feel less hungry.
This article takes a closer look at the purpose of gastric sleeve surgery, the criteria you must meet to qualify for the procedure, and the expected tests and labs.
Diagnosis associated with gastric sleeve surgery
The primary goal of gastric sleeve surgery is to help with weight loss to prevent or improve medical conditions associated with obesity. Here are some examples of medical conditions that can be affected by obesity and weight:
- Cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease (blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle), heart failure (the inability of the heart to circulate blood efficiently), atherosclerosis (the buildup of deposits in the arteries)
- Lung diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea (repeated breathing stops during sleep due to blocked airways) and obesity hypopnea syndrome (not breathing deeply enough due to obesity)
- Venous disorders, such as deep vein thrombosis (clots in large veins) and pulmonary embolism (clots that have lodged in the lungs)
- liver disease, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (fat buildup in the liver can lead to inflammation)
- Metabolic changes, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides
- Reproductive disorders such as fertility problems and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (a disorder of the hormonal system where there are many cysts on the ovaries)
- Musculoskeletal disorders such as hernias, osteoarthritis (joint damage from wear and tear), and back pain
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (chronic heartburn and reflux)
- Obesity increases cancer risk Breast, colorectal, liver, gallbladder, stomach, pancreatic, uterine, ovarian, kidney, multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer), and esophageal adenocarcinoma
Bariatric surgery is generally not a first-line treatment option for obesity and obesity-related disorders. It is considered major surgery with risks of short- and long-term side effects.
Often, bariatric surgery is recommended after unsuccessful weight loss through diet and lifestyle changes.
Research has shown that weight loss of as little as 10% of total body weight may help improve the health of overweight and obese individuals across many of these health conditions.
Criteria for gastric sleeve surgery
Patients need to meet certain criteria to be considered candidates for gastric sleeve surgery. Often, your healthcare team will want you to try to lose weight by making changes to your diet and exercise.
They used these failed attempts to determine whether surgery was needed because, if possible, it was best to maintain a healthy weight without altering the gastrointestinal system.
Classic criteria used to determine eligibility for bariatric surgery include:
- Body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 40 or BMI greater than or equal to 35 and at least one obesity-related health condition
- Failed Attempts to Lose Weight
- Licensed by Mental Health
- No medical conditions that would interfere with surgery
Recently, the criteria have been updated to include patients with a BMI between 30 and 35 if they have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
Some people may not be eligible for bariatric surgery if they:
- serious mental illness
- uncontrolled blood clotting problems
- Barrett’s esophagus (change in the lining of the food pipe that increases the risk of cancer)
- severe gastroesophageal reflux disease
Tests and Labs
Patients undergo a number of different tests and evaluations before being approved for surgery. These may start weeks to months before undergoing weight loss surgery. Healthcare professionals who are part of most bariatric surgery teams include:
- bariatric physician or surgeon
- Registered Dietitian or Dietitian
- psychologist or psychiatrist
Some weight loss teams will include doctors and surgeons who work with you before and after surgery. Both types are doctors. They just have different specialties. Both doctors and surgeons can help with preoperative screenings, such as:
- Blood tests including comprehensive metabolome, liver function tests, hemoglobin A1C, vitamin and mineral levels
- Overnight sleep study to test for obstructive sleep apnea
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to evaluate GERD and damage to the esophagus or stomach
- Evaluate your heart health with electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiography
- Other imaging and tests, such as X-rays or abdominal ultrasound
A dietitian or dietitian will help you prepare for your new eating plan after surgery and help you through the various stages of a weight loss diet. They will help answer any nutrition-related questions you may have about healthy eating.
A nutritionist can also guide you through the various stages of a post-bariatric surgery diet, such as clear liquids, full liquids, soft and balanced diets.
Another important evaluation before and after bariatric surgery is a mental health screening by a psychologist or psychiatrist. Diet can be linked to mental health such as stress, mood, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.
Talking to a mental health professional can help you prepare for dietary changes and support you in coping with the big changes that come with bariatric surgery.
The goal of gastric sleeve surgery is to make it easier for people to lose weight. It is commonly used to prevent and improve obesity-related health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
To be considered a candidate for gastric sleeve surgery, you must have a BMI over 40, a pre-existing medical condition, a failed weight loss attempt, and a mental health screening.
Before you schedule surgery, the medical team will review your medical history, current health and mental health and prepare you for the changes that will occur after surgery.
Bariatric surgery is a major decision that may help your overall health and well-being. Discuss all the potential benefits and risks of bariatric surgery to find out if it’s the best option for you. Weight can be an emotional topic. Be kind to yourself and focus on your overall goal of improving your physical and mental health.