Approximately 70 million Americans are suffering from obesity. Sometimes, it becomes essential to undergo weight loss surgery as obesity can cause serious health problems. After trying exercise and various diets, you may still not be able to accomplish your goal of leading a healthy life. In such cases, people consider bariatric surgeries of different types. The different surgeries have different procedures, costs, recovery times, and pros or cons.
In this article, we try to explain the expected weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery. After comparing it with other options and analyzing the costs of other factors involved, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether it’s the best option for you or not.
Let’s begin with the basic question. What is gastric sleeve surgery? Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery or gastric sleeve surgery is among the common bariatric surgery procedures followed in the United States. It aims to limit the amount of food intake and target the ‘excess weight’ in your body. Excess weight is the difference between the ideal and current weight of an individual. The procedure is laparoscopic and recommended for individuals with 35 or higher BMI. 75-85% of the stomach is removed in this surgery. A sleeve or tube-like structure is formed by the remaining fourth part of the stomach.
Gastric sleeve surgery works at multiple levels towards improving the patient’s health. Firstly, due to the reduction of stomach size, food intake and holding time reduces. This increases the speed at which food passes into the intestines as well. Additionally, removing 85% of the stomach reduced ghrelin levels in the body. This hormone stimulates appetite and is found in the stomach. So, after a gastric sleeve surgery, patients not only feel fuller after consuming small portions, they also feel less hungry. Finally, the procedure reduces the risk of health problems like sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
A major drawback of the surgery, compared to other procedures is that it is irreversible.
Within a year, most patients experience a 70-80% reduction in excess weight after the surgery. Up to three-fourth of the excess weight is lost within two years. Even after 5 years of surgery, patients kept off approximately 60% of the excess weight in a study done in Switzerland.
While individual experiences may differ, you can expect a loss of 8-12 pounds every month. The success rate is also proportional to post-surgery care. Here is a timeline with different milestones, for the expected weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery.
Intense changes are observed in the first month. Rapid changes are a result of the liquid or pureed food diet and your body’s response to the change. Patients can drop as much as 5 pounds every week in the first month. Weight loss is much faster in men, compared to women.
You can engage in regular activities after your body heals. Your total excess weight may reduce by 35-40%. The body’s response is even better when you follow the diet and exercise recommendations.
Continuing a disciplined lifestyle, exercise, and diet, a positive impact is observed on weight loss results, mood as well as energy. Within half a year, patients are likely to drop 50-55% of their excess weight. The pace of weight reduction slows down eventually. Most people experience a loss of 2-3 pounds per week at this stage.
The target weight of most patients seems closer after a year. Usually, 60-65% of excess weight is lost by this time.
As mentioned earlier, results differ among individuals. Post-operative care and commitment to behavioral changes, along with preoperative education play a major role in the weight loss journey. While the initial weight loss is highly predictive, post 6 months, patients might regain some of the lost weight. Hence, even after the surgery, it is essential to commit to a healthy lifestyle and maintain weight loss.
Gastric sleeve surgery can effectively treat obesity and improve your overall quality of life. It is highly recommended for ailments arising due to excess weight. Yet, it is no miracle. A sleeve gastrectomy surgery does not mean a free pass to eat without restrictions.
If patients do not follow post-operative discipline in terms of diet and exercise, the lost weight is more likely to return. Eating habits and food choices dictate the long-term effectiveness of any bariatric procedure. Hence, following instructions regarding diet and exercise is mandatory.