What is a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy?
A Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy or Gastric Sleeve as it is commonly referred to by patients is a form of bariatric surgery that has become quite popular due to its low complication rate and good weight loss results, where a surgeon removes approximately 85% of the stomach. The open edges are then typically stapled or stitched together to form a tube or sleeve shape in order to reduce the volume capacity in order to minimize the amount of food one can comfortably eat as well as minimize hunger-inducing hormones. As the intestine is not bypassed, vitamin and most nutrient absorption are not affected as much as other operations such as gastric bypass procedure.
As this procedure is done laparoscopically the cuts to enter the abdominal area aren’t completed in the tradition open incision method but instead a series of 5 smaller incisions that are then used to insert long thin tools used to conduct the operation. The benefits of using the laparoscopic method are that it greatly reduces recovery time, the amount of post-operative pain and bruising and significantly lowers the amount of scarring for patients.
Am I eligible for a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy?
As the sleeve gastrectomy procedure involves neither intestinal reconfiguration such as in a gastric bypass surgery or insertion of a foreign body that might cause issues such as a Lap Band or Realize Band that require frequent adjustments. This procedure is typically the considered treatment for patients with a very high BMI or Body Mass Index (around 60 or Higher) or patients who are affected by other medical conditions that prevent them from having gastric bypass surgery such as anaemias or Crohn’s disease.
This surgical procedure can also be performed laparoscopically, providing patients over 200kg the benefits of minimally invasive surgery.
Advantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Available to a wide range of patients including those affected by conflicting medical conditions such as high BMI or Chron’s Disease.
- Able to be converted into a gastric bypass or duodenal switch for most patients if necessary.
- Shorter Hospital stay and a faster recovery when compared with other procedures.
- Considerably faster in operation times when compared to other bariatric surgeries.
- Lower complications when compared to other bariatric surgeries
- No foreign bodies are introduced to eradicate further problems from arising.
- Reduces stomach volume but still allows normal functionality, therefore most foods can still be consumed just in smaller amounts.
- Patients expect to lose around 60% of excess weight in 6- 12 months
Risks and Complications of Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery
As with any surgical procedure a range of possible complications are introduced, these include:
- As this procedure includes stomach stapling there is a risk of leakages or other issues that may occur.
- The potential for inadequate weight loss increased as no intestinal bypass is involved.
- This operation is considered an irreversible procedure!
- Patients may induce or worsen reflux symptoms such as heartburn after surgery.
Cost of the Sleeve Gastrectomy
Like most surgery there is never one definite cost for a specific procedure, this is due to the different elements involved that make up the final cost. Depending on your Private Health Insurance it could cost anywhere between $4,000 – $6,000 after rebates, on the other hand, if you do not have insurance it could cost anywhere between $16,000 – $18,000. Some of these ranging factors include that will influence these numbers are:
- Consultation fees – Usually between $100-$200 that are usually eligible for a medicare rebate.
- Surgeons fees – Usually one of the most varying factors. This is commonly correlated with the surgeons’ experience and ability.
- Surgical assistants fees
- Anaesthetists fees
- Hospital/Facility fees
- Type of Surgery
- Post Operative Medication/Vitamins
It is important to not to take shortcuts with surgery, these are life changing operations that if not done correctly or properly by a competent and experienced surgeon could lead to some serious medical issues later down the track. It is not advised to travel to third world countries in order to find the cheapest deal possible as often you are left with a second rate surgery in a second rate theatre with no post-operative support later on. While saying that it is important to be able to tell the difference between a highly experienced surgeon who charges a bit more and a second rate surgeon who charges the same price.
After the Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery
Due to the speedy recovery nature of the gastric sleeve surgery, it is common to return to work within the next 5-7 days after the procedure. A diet of full liquids is prescribed during the first few weeks before slowly progressing to purees and then soft foods all within a 4 week period. Although 90% of patients report no further pain after the second day following the operation, some pain and discomfort may be experienced but may be relieved with medication.
Patients can expect to lose around 60-70% of excess weight within the first 6-12 months, while maximum weight loss appears within two years postoperatively. With this amount of weight loss it is largely common for people to discover large quantities of excess skin that have folded over and left protruding. This is common for all people who have undergone extreme rapid weight loss and unfortunately, even with all the exercise in the world, skin will not begin to firm and correct this. It is in these cases that people look towards plastic surgery for help, specifically the range of body contouring procedures available such as:
Weight loss is a journey, and we can help, from treating obesity to excess weight gain or massive weight loss.
Get YOUR body feeling and looking its best by accessing some of Australia’s most caring, helpful and skilled Nutritionists, Dieticians and Surgeons.