Making the Gastric Sleeve Surgery Decision: The Final Hurdles

Choosing to undergo gastric sleeve surgery (or any bariatric surgery) is a huge decision. If you’re struggling to make a definitive commitment to the procedure, rest assured that you’re in good company. And while we encourage everyone to take all the time they need in making the decision, it’s important to understand that, often, those mental stumbling blocks aren’t hurdles at all.

Hurdle #1: I’m afraid this will fail too.

By the time patients consider gastric sleeve, many see it as a last resort after a lifetime of trying—and fail at—different diets and exercise programs. So it’s no wonder lots of people are terrified that this, their last hope, might fail too. Here’s the reality: You will lose weight after the procedure. It’s pretty much impossible notto lose weight because we dramatically reduce the size of the stomach and remove much of the “hunger hormone” housed within the stomach.

Now, how much you’ll lose is ultimately up to you. Gastric sleeve provides an undeniable advantage, but patients still need to adhere to sensible nutrition and exercise guidelines. At Endobariatric, we set you up for success in every possible way, starting with our technique during surgery and extending through things like lifetime support and detailed weight loss strategies. Thanks to all that, my patients can expect to lose between 65 to 90 percent of excess body weight.

Remember that your journey is your own, so please don’t compare yourself to others. The more a person weighs before surgery, for example, the more total weight they can/will lose. Also, the type of surgery often impacts the rate of weight loss. Gastric bypass patients typically lose weight more quickly than gastric sleeve patients, who in turn usually lose weight faster than gastric band patients. In the end, though, bypass and sleeve patients shed similar amounts of total weight—and I firmly believe in the benefits of sleeve over bypass or Lap-band.

Hurdle #2: Yikes—this is permanent.

It is. And it isn’t. Because the stomach is reduced and restructured into a sleeve-like shape (hence the name) during surgery, gastric sleeve is a permanent solution. But it can be converted into a gastric bypass or duodenal switch down the road if the patient so chooses. I don’t see that in patients I’ve sleeved, but patients whose surgeons use a different technique—a larger bougie, for example, which would result in larger stomach capacity—sometimes want to try a different kind of bariatric solution. And it’s available to them.

Keep in mind that gastric sleeve is a restrictive procedure, rather than a mal-absorption procedure. We physically shrink your stomach, making it unable to hold large amounts of food, but we leave your intestines alone. Mal-absorption surgeries like gastric bypass reroute the intestines in an effort to reduce the amount of nutrients that he body absorbs. Yes, this helps with weight loss, but it often leads to issues like vitamin deficiencies and not-so-nice side effects when you eat. That’s the kind of permanent you don’t want.

Hurdle #3: I don’t want a sleeve to interfere with my pregnancy plans.

Actually, excess weight can interfere with plans to conceive, while a sleeve can help you become pregnant. In fact, lots of my patients are referred by their OB/GYNs! Obesity and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can throw off a woman’s hormones, diminishing the possibility of a successful pregnancy. Lowering your body weight through gastric sleeve not only doesn’t impede a future pregnancy, but it can increase the odds so dramatically that I often advise women to use contraception for a while so their bodies aren’t juggling the dual jobs of pregnancy and rapid weight loss.

Knowing that fertility isn’t diminished—and is, in fact, increased—is especially important for our youngest patients and their families. We perform gastric sleeve on a growing number of teens and young adults who may not be thinking about babies yet, but we feel good knowing that we’re helping them protect that option if and when they want it.

If you’re considering gastric sleeve and have questions, get in touch with us today. We’re always here to help you sort through the pros and cons—and jump those final hurdles!

We invite you to visit our website and see for yourself what we have done here in Endobariatric for thousands of patients with more than satisfactory results, you can check it with the images that we have on “Before and after” of our patients with surprising changes.

Also we invite you to follow us on all our social networks, we are on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest, we also have our YouTube channel where I’m the host of the #AskDrA Show, where I (Dr. Alvarez) answer frequently asked questions that are sent to me with the Hashtag #AskDrA, subscribe to it! we talk about very interesting subjects.

If you want a more personalized experience and you have Snapchat, follow me (Dr.Alvarez) to see my day both in my daily routine and in the operating room, add me! We will have a great time! My username is: gmoalvarez.

“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.