If diets and exercise plans have failed you time and time again, you can consider laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) to achieve your weight loss goals and improve your overall health and quality of life with fewer efforts and headaches.
This minimally invasive procedure has been proven effective and safe by multiple studies. According to a study, the effectiveness of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is similar to that of gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y.
Surgeons often recommend this surgical option to people with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 40, which often means that you are around 100 pounds (45 kg) overweight.
What Is Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy?
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) or laparoscopic gastric sleeve, is a type of surgery that restricts the amount of food you can eat and helps you lose weight quickly. The resulting stomach is smaller and shaped like a sleeve, allowing it to function normally, albeit with a reduced capacity to accommodate food intake.
This is a minimally invasive surgical method that involves making small incisions of around one-half to one inch to remove a significant part of your stomach or around 80%, which reduces the amount of food and calories you can consume.
Moreover, this procedure reduces the production of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel hungry, leading to less appetite and more potential weight loss. During the procedure, your surgeon will insert a laparoscope and the surgical instruments through small incisions.
Laparoscopic surgery typically requires a shorter hospital stay than open surgery, with most patients discharged within two days after the surgery. After all, the surgery doesn’t involve bypassing the intestines or causing any gastrointestinal malabsorption.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
laparoscopic gastric sleeve yields a lot of benefits, such as:
- Remove the main part of the stomach that produces hunger hormones, which leads to a subdued appetite.
- A simple, minimally invasive, and effective procedure that doesn’t reroute the intestines, allowing for the full absorption of nutrients.
- Allow you to lose 60 to 80% of your excess body weight over one to two years after the procedure.
- Treat obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea.
- Result in a shorter hospital stay, less pain or complications after surgery, lower risk of infection, and quicker recovery time.
- Lead to faster weight loss and less food intolerance compared to gastric band surgery or Lap Band.
- Doesn’t involve the installation of any removable device.
Candidates for Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
To qualify for the surgery, you need to have a certain body mass index (BMI). BMI is used by healthcare professionals to measure your weight and assess your risk for weight-related diseases.
It’s calculated based on your weight and height and can serve as a useful health indicator for many people. However, BMI isn’t always a perfect measure, and many surgeons overlook its importance when determining sleeve gastrectomy candidates. In other words, not everyone agrees on specific BMI criteria for the surgery, and some surgeons may offer it to people with low BMI.
In any case, if your BMI is 40 or higher, which means you’re about 100 pounds (45 kg) overweight, or if your BMI is 35 or higher and you have a medical condition like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, you may be eligible for surgery.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Steps
Surgeons often perform the surgery in hospitals under general anesthesia, and they may need about 2 hours to complete the procedure. The steps of the procedure include:
Making the Incisions
Your surgeon will make several small cuts in your belly, through which a thin, long telescope with a tiny camera and instruments.
Cutting the Stomach
After the instruments are in place, your surgeon will use them to remove about 80% of your stomach. Besides making your stomach smaller, the surgeon will remove the fundus of the stomach, which is part of the stomach that produces ghrelin (hunger hormone).
Closing the Incisions
Finally, your surgeon will seal the incisions and clean the area. You may need to stay in the hospital for 2 days afterward.
Before and After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Most clinics rely on the laparoscopic technique to carry out gastric sleeve surgery. After all, the laparoscopic approach is less invasive and more desirable for patients. However, nothing shows the magnificent results of surgery such as before and after images of people who had undergone the procedure. Below are some of these images:
Robotic vs Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Thanks to the new advancement in surgical technologies, some clinics and hospitals promote robotic or digital sleeve gastrectomy instead of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. The new technology seems promising and may actually yield great results. After all, the robotic sleeve gastrectomy sounds appealing to many people due to its high-tech approach.
According to a study, however, this approach comes with a longer operative time and greater risk for postoperative complications such as leak and surgical site infections. Therefore, laparoscopic gastric sleeve remains the preferred surgical approach for sleeve gastrectomy, at least for now.
In other words, despite the advanced technology used in robotic surgery, the traditional laparoscopic technique is still the safest and most effective option for this particular procedure.
Risks of Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
The procedure has a lower risk of complications compared to other types of bariatric procedures, such as gastric bypass. But, it still carries some risks and complications, just like any other surgery. Below are the most prominent problems and possible complications of the surgery:
- Heart and brain damage
- Irreversibility of the procedure
- Blood clots
- Stomach stretching
- Visible scars
Recovery after Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
You will feel full after consuming less food, resulting in sustained weight loss as your calorie intake decreases. The amount of weight loss depends on your starting weight, but on average, people may lose about 50 to 60% of their excess weight, which can be around 20 to 70kg. It’s essential to follow up with your doctor annually to monitor your progress.
To get a smoother recovery, try to boost your activity level by walking gradually a little further each day. Also, reconsider your eating habits to reduce calorie intake and increase water consumption for better health outcomes. Furthermore, try to refrain from drinking alcohol for at least 4 weeks after the surgery to control calorie intake and reduce cravings.
Diet After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
After having the surgery, you must adopt a special diet for the rest of your life as is the case with all bariatric surgeries. Your diet will be limited to fluids and pureed foods for a few weeks, followed by a gradual reintroduction of foods over six weeks. You will also need to take B complex vitamins to promote healing.
Your stomach would take around six weeks after the surgery to adapt to the new eating habits. The bariatric surgery team will supervise this process and connect you with a dietitian who will write down a plan for you. Here are some recommended dietary adjustments after the procedure:
- Drink at least 1.5 liters of fluids every day.
- Avoid drinking fluids within 15-30 minutes of a meal
- Have four to six smaller meals per day instead of three large meals
- Chew your food slowly and pay attention to the portion size
- Choose balanced meals with high protein content
- Avoid eating as a response to stress or boredom.
- Take dietary supplements, including protein.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Cost
The cost of the procedure varies greatly depending on the country, the hospital or clinic, the complexity of the procedure, and other factors. In a nutshell, the cost can range between 3500-20000 US dollars. The cheapest gastric sleeve is often found in countries such as Turkey and Mexico. The below table provides an estimated cost of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in different countries:
|Turkey||3500-4000 US dollars|
|United States||12000-20000 US dollars|
|United Kingdom||10000-15000 US dollars|
|Australia||11000-16000 US dollars|
|Germany||12000-16000 US dollars|
|Japan||7000-15000 US dollars|
|India||4000-6000 US dollars|
|Thailand||9000-12000 US dollars|
The Bottom Line
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) is one of the most commonly performed bariatric procedures in the world. Most people prefer this option because it’s less invasive and highly effective. However, it does come with some complications and isn’t cheap, except in some selected countries, such as Turkey.
International Clinics in Turkey offer laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and other similar bariatric procedures to international patients. Each year, thousands of patients undergo surgery in our clinics. You can reach us right now using the Contact Us button below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Is Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Done?
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is done in steps that involve putting the patient under general anesthesia, making small incisions in the abdomen, and using a long, thin laparoscope with a small camera at the end to remove approximately 80% of the stomach.
What Foods Are Forbidden After Gastric Sleeve?
Forbidden foods after gastric sleeve include tough and dry meat, fatty foods, calorie-rich foods, spicy or seasoned dishes, and alcoholic beverages.
How Do I Prepare for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
You can prepare for gastric sleeve surgery by adhering to a liquid diet two to three days before the procedure, refraining from consuming any beverages or food in the night that precedes the surgery to ensure that your stomach is empty and ready for the procedure.
How Painful Is Gastric Sleeve Recovery?
Gastric sleeve recovery isn’t painful. However, some cases may experience pain in the first week following the surgery, especially if they engage in strenuous activities.
How Soon After Gastric Sleeve Can I Go Back to Work?
You can go back to your work after 1-2 weeks following gastric sleeve surgery, depending on your recovery. Some surgeons recommend a rest period of two to four weeks before getting back to work.
Can I Have a Normal Life After Gastric Sleeve?
You can have a normal life after gastric for sure. However, you need to wait 4-6 weeks before resuming your usual life routines. In addition, you need to make permanent lifestyle changes to maintain an ideal weight.
Read more: Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad: Best Destinations & Packages