FAQ’s About Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Tired of suffering the effects of
weight related illnesses?

The hospital is located on the Eagle Pass Texas/Piedras Negras Mexico border. We are less than 1 mile over the border.

What bougie size does the doctor use?

Dr. Alvarez uses a 32 Fr bougie (loose)  for the gastric sleeve procedure. This is the bougie size has shown to give the best outcome regarding weight loss.

Complications?

This is a Table of the possible complications reported in literature and Dr. Alvarez’s complications.
As with any surgery, there can be complications. This list can include:

ComplicationLiteratureDr. Alvarez
Deep vein thrombosis0.5%0.25%
Pulmonary embolism0.5%0%
Pneumonia0.2%0.5%
Acute respiratory distress syndrome0.25%0%
Spleenectomy0.5%0%
Gastric leak and fistula1.0%0.32%
Postoperative bleeding0.5%0%
Small bowel obstruction0%0%
Death0.25%0%

Note: These results are based on the first 15,000 sleeves done by Dr. Alvarez

Maintenance of the VSG?

VSG procedure differs from Lap-band surgery because it is free of “maintenance”. Meaning, you will not need any band adjustments or “fills”, nor will you have any erosions or slippage because you have no band. The VSG does not need regular checking (blood work, vitamin screening, etc.) as with the Roux en Y Gastric bypass or Duodenal switch because you have no mal-absorption

What kind of staples do you use?

Will they sound off the alarm if I cross the metal detector in an Airport? The answer is no.
We use the exclusive Tri-stapleTM Technology titanium staples made by Medtronic in the United States. These are 100% titanium staples that will not rust nor cause any issues down the road. Also titanium is 100% biocompatible which means there are no allergic reactions known to mankind. We use this particular brand because they have 3 rows of staples that adapt to your stomach’s tissue and it’s thickness. Not everyone is alike and this also applies to the stomach’s thickness. These staples have different heights and will hold your stomach together while it goes through the healing process in a better way. That gives the patient an added sense of security. We also over sew the staple line making our leakage rate percentage very low.

Do you use stitches to close up the incisions?

Dr. Alvarez uses an absorbable suture called Monocryl®. So no stitches need to be removed. Your small wounds will be covered with Steri-strips™. They will stay on for about 7 days. You will be able to shower with regular soap and water. You will be instructed not to apply any ointments or creams on the wounds for 15 days. You will not be able to submerge in a bathtub, hot-tub or a swimming pool for a couple of weeks.

How many incisions are done in the surgery and what size?

 

How much protein per day should I be eating?

Studies show that you should take between 40 to 70 grams of protein daily, especially in the first 6 to 12 months post-op.

What kind of diet will I be on Post-op? Do you send me information?

We take our patients by the hand step by step. We will inform you pre surgery what will be required of you. This includes your post-op diet guide, any special instructions you may need as well as aftercare directions.

Should I be taking a Vitamin everyday?

Although there are no reported vitamin deficiencies, we recommend a multivitamin (chewable) to our patients once daily.

Will I lose my hair?

Hair loss is the result of bad eating habits. You can prevent it by eating enough protein and taking your vitamin supplement suggested by our guidelines.

Will I have nausea?

There are people who are very sensitive to the anesthesia. These people tend do be a bit more nauseated than others. The manipulation of the stomach during surgery may also produce some nausea in some patients. In our practice, the post-operative VSG patient that does have nausea, is around 5-10%. Nausea does subside in the next few hours post-op. All of our patients receive medications to prevent nausea in the recovery room and thereafter every 8 hours for this purpose.

Will this fix my heartburn?

Probably. Heartburn or acid reflux (GERD) is directly related to being overweight (there are other causes of GERD). Once you start losing those pounds you should notice that the heartburn starts to disappear. We give each patient who undergoes the VSG a treatment to reduce the acid production in the stomach, which also reduces the heartburn.

How easy is it to stretch out my new tummy?

Not easy at all. You literally would have to put your mind to do this.

Does insurance cover this surgery?

With respect to your question about the possible use of insurance to cover this? You would first need to contact your insurance company to see if it will cover weight loss surgery, specific to the gastric sleeve. If it does, then you will need to locate a doctor in your area who does weight loss surgery and do all the items deemed necessary to get insurance to pay for it. Most of our patients are all self-pay and most insurance will not pay for out of the country procedures as we are in Mexico. The cost with us is $8,900 USD and includes everything but airfare into San Antonio Texas. The hospital is located less than 1 mile over the Texas/Mexico borders.

What are the long-term results of VSG?

Studies have shown that the VSG has excellent results long-term. It has similar results to the  Roux en Y but without their complications at 5 years.

Can I drink alcohol?

Yes, but it is not recommended. Alcohol has many calories and will not help on your progress with your weight loss. Alcohol intoxication will also hit you a lot faster with the VSG than other surgeries.

How does Smoking affect my surgery?

It hinders the healing process and if you are looking to get healthy you should quit.

How much time off work?

After a bariatric procedure done through laparoscopy you will be able to do your regular activity once you get home. Drive in 3 to 4 days and return to work in 5 to 7 days. Some people who have desk-jobs return to work immediately. We restrict our patients on “heavy” weight lifting for 30 days.

What kind of staples do you use? Will they sound off the alarm if I cross the metal detector in an Airport?
We use titanium staples made by Autosuture in the United States. We use these because they have 3 rows of staples. That gives the patient an added sense of security. We also over sew the staple line making our leakage rate % very low.

How would I know if I had a leak?

Our leakage rate is at 0.32% with over 15,000 patients. But say you did have a leak, symptoms would be fever, abdominal pain, tachycardia (elevated heart beat), intolerance to liquids, low urinary output etc. For this reason, we perform 2 leak tests in the operating room after the sleeve is completed, a blue dye and an air test before you are brought from under anesthesia.

What kind of follow-up do I need with my primary care doctor/lab tests?

We give all our patients the “paperwork” needed for follow-up. You take home your surgery report, lab test, chest X-ray, etc. So if any other doctor in the states is going to be seeing you he will know exactly what was done inside you and what to expect. VSG patients don’t need to be attended to by doctors as regularly as Lap-Band or Roux en Y patients. We’ll keep in touch with all of our patients via email or telephone to ensure you are doing well and to answer any questions you may have post-operatively.

Will I be able to take all my medications/vitamins and will the absorb properly after surgery?

Yes, with the VSG you absorb all your meds, vitamins and nutrients from your foods as well.

Want to learn more? Visit our YouTube Channel

Contact Dr. Alvarez Today
Dr. Alvarez believes that educating his patient about bariatric surgery is the best way to provide a positive patient experience. During a comprehensive consultation, he helps patients learn more about their weight loss surgery options, including the difference between gastric sleeve and Lap Band or other procedures. Contact his practice today at 1-866-697-5338 to schedule a consultation and decide which procedure is for you.

Visit our Frequently Ask Questions in our Video Section.

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