Researching Gastric Sleeve Surgery
July 8, 2019
Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the biggest lifestyle changes you could ever make. As an option of last resort, you should know as much as you can before you consider having the surgery. At the very least, you should know when surgery has become an option, and the life changes you are expected to make before and after the surgery.
Rushing into gastric sleeve surgery without research can be disastrous. You will not know if surgery is even necessary (which makes it more dangerous), and you will not be prepared for the pre- and post-operative changes. It is best to prepare, so you will be able to set your mentality for the long-term, and constantly encourage yourself.
Best Ways to Research Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Attend Gastric Sleeve Surgery Seminars
The best way to start researching gastric sleeve surgery is to attend an in-person seminar that covers the basics of that surgery. A seminar is usually conducted by an expert on weight loss and gastric sleeve surgery, to a group of people. There are quite a few benefits of attending an in-person seminar in your area or conducted by the hospital you are interested in having surgery at.
First, the seminars happen on a set schedule. You can easily write them into your own schedule, instead of planning to research during your free time. Second, seminars are group activities. You can meet others who are considering surgery, and begin to develop your support network as early as now. This is important for your mental and emotional health.
Third, a seminar usually has portions for question and answer. If you were confused about something during the seminar, or if they did not touch upon something you wanted to know, you can simply ask. Some seminar providers, like Realize, actually let you meet your potential surgeons during the seminar.
Who usually provides gastric sleeve surgery seminars?
• General hospitals which provide gastric sleeve surgery
• Community hospitals which provide gastric sleeve surgery
• Surgical centers which provide gastric sleeve surgery
How can you find a gastric sleeve surgery seminar near you?
• Search through a seminar directory like Realize or Gastric Sleeve Centers
• Email or call your local hospital and ask if they conduct gastric sleeve surgery seminars
Are there online gastric sleeve surgery seminars you can attend?
Definitely. In some cases, you might prefer to watch an online seminar before attending an in-person seminar or seeking further consultation. Some sites that provide online seminars are:
• Emory Health – provides a comprehensive seminar, with a post-seminar quiz
• Realize – provides a comprehensive seminar by a bariatric surgeon
• MK – a doctor who provides online seminars on gastric sleeve surgery
• Peachtree Surgical & Bariatrics – provides free online seminars on gastric sleeve surgery
Are there requirements for attending a gastric sleeve surgery seminar?
Usually, none. However, some hospitals, like Highland Hospital in New York, require that you already be 18 years old, meet the basic BMI requirements for weight loss surgery, have a history of obesity, and so forth. Also, some surgeons require you to attend a seminar on gastric sleeve surgery before making an appointment with you.
Join Online Forums on Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Online forums are usually in question-answer format, similar to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages in a website. Online forums are perfect for you if you have already done your initial research, or attended an online seminar. You can then ask questions in the forum, and have them answered by people who already have the needed experience.
Even more importantly, online forums are as good a place as any to begin building your support network. Even at the point where you are just considering surgery, you already need a positive group who will encourage you and relate with your decision. You will also get more understanding and sympathy from people who have already gone through with the surgery.
Where can you find online forums for gastric sleeve surgery?
Bariatric Pal has a comprehensive list of various Gastric Sleeve forums. You can ask questions on the pre-gastric sleeve surgery forum, read through success stories and ask questions about them, and even join a general gastric sleeve surgery discussion. It is a perfect place to find support and networks.
Thinner Times also hosts forums for gastric sleeve surgery (they call it vertical sleeve gastrectomy). There are four sub-forums; on pre-operation, post-operation, long-term effects of gastric sleeve surgery, and nutrition. There are over 1,200 topics on the forum, and you can browse through them for more discussions on gastric sleeve surgery.
Obesity Help hosts user-created forums on gastric sleeve surgery. With 417 pages of topics alone, you can easily find a group whom you can interact with regularly. It is a perfect place to begin learning about gastric sleeve surgery, and develop a support network whether or not you actually get surgery.
Talking to People Who Have Had Gastric Sleeve Surgery
There are few better ways to get information about Gastric Sleeve surgery than from people who have had firsthand experience. They not only know about the details and statistics about surgery, they can share their emotional experiences as well. Preparing for gastric sleeve surgery needs both kinds of research. You can be better prepared emotionally, and also develop your potential support network at the same time.
Reading Testimonials About Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Researching gastric sleeve surgery would not be complete without reading the true stories of those who have already had the surgery. After all, you need to know how gastric sleeve surgery plays out in practice and experience, not just in theory and statistics. Reading through a number of testimonials will also give you a general overview of what common success and challenges people face after surgery.
Where can you find gastric sleeve surgery testimonials?
Slim Life Solutions offers a number of patient testimonials, even with before and after pictures. They are all positive and encouraging testimonials. Advanced Bariatric Surgery has patient testimonial videos of those who have gone through gastric sleeve surgery. They may be more encouraging because you can see their emotions as they speak.
Oliak Center provides patient testimonials and before and after weight loss pictures. The testimonials provide some background of what the patients went through before surgery, and how it changed their lives. A Lighter Me also provides encouraging testimonials and pictures to browse through.
Research Gastric Sleeve Surgeons
One good way to research gastric surgery is to look for the possible surgeons in your area whom you might prefer. You may search through referrals and recommendations. Another concern is, if you are paying through insurance, whether or not your surgeon is in the directory of surgeons your insurance provider will pay for.
What do you need to ask when researching gastric sleeve surgeons?
First, look for the weight loss surgeons in your city or state who do gastric sleeve surgeries. Bariatric Surgery Source helps you find a weight loss surgeon by state, as does the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Health Grades provides a list of bariatric (weight loss) surgeons by state and city, which would help you narrow down your options.
What Should You Know Before Having Surgery?
If You Need Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Surgery always comes with a certain amount of risk. There are risks associated with being anesthetized, with the surgery itself, and with complications post-surgery. This is why surgery is a last resort at all times. If you can lose weight through another program, through exercise and dieting, it is healthier and less risky to do that. The dangerous thing would be to think that gastric sleeve surgery is a one-time solution to an obesity question.
The requirement for gastric sleeve surgery, or any weight loss surgery, usually depends on your BMI (Body Mass Index). The BMI measures your weight per square meter of height. When your BMI passes a certain level, you are at an increased risk of obesity-related complications (some call them co-morbidities).
Most hospitals, physicians, and insurance companies will consider your eligibility under the following conditions:
1) You have a BMI of 40 or more;
2) You have at least 1 co-morbidity (some require at least 2) such as
- Sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep)
- Type II diabetes (highly irregular blood sugar levels)
- Coronary heart disease (the veins leading to the heart are blocked up)
Before you begin to search for how, when, and where to get gastric sleeve surgery, focus first on whether or not you need the surgery. If you have not yet tried an exercise and diet plan, commit to one first. Only consider surgery if you have co-morbidities, and if they are severe enough to threaten your health faster than your exercise and diet plan would work.
How Gastric Sleeve Surgery is Different from Other Bariatric Surgeries
When researching gastric sleeve surgery, you should know how this surgery is different from other weight loss surgeries and how it can benefit you. When you research gastric sleeve surgery, you will most probably run into two more kinds: gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding surgery.
Of the three kinds of bariatric surgery, gastric banding surgery is reversible. This does not necessarily make it better. In fact, it is in some ways less comfortable. Also, the reversibility might have an unconscious effect on your commitment to the weight loss programs you still need to follow.
In gastric banding, a silicone band is placed around your stomach, shrinking its size. This leaves less space for the food to stay, and therefore makes you feel full faster. It can be adjusted, or removed altogether. For gastric bypass, most of your stomach is stapled so food cannot enter it, and then the stomach is attached to a lower part of the small intestine for less calorie absorption.
Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the best options for irreversible weight loss surgery. Cutting away 80% of the stomach removes most of the stomach’s ghrelin hormone, which is what makes you hungry. However, gastric bypass surgery is more effective in lowering Type II diabetes risks. Take these into consideration as you research.
The Pre- and Post-Operation Requirements of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Weight loss surgery is a life-changing decision, and gastric sleeve surgery is no exception. Besides the eligibility requirements of surgery, some surgeons require you to go on a certain diet for some weeks before the surgery. This reduces the risks of surgery for you. Other surgeons will require certain tests and follow-up check-ups, so look first at all the possible requirements you need to fulfill before you can even apply for surgery.
After the operation, the fight for your weight loss lifestyle would just be beginning. You will need to be on a special diet, follow a regular exercise program, and keep in touch with your surgeon and physicians. If these guidelines for eating less and building strength are not followed, you might suffer post-surgery complications, or relapse. To prevent this, make sure you know all the possible dangers of gastric sleeve surgery first.
Researching Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Necessary for Weight Loss Success
Gastric sleeve surgery has a high chance of success, which is why it has grown to become the most-requested bariatric surgery in the United States. However, besides good surgeons and great operating facilities, the successes are because of the patients themselves. The surgeons can conduct the most flawless surgery, but if the patients do not follow up on the chance given them, they will see no progress.
Before you venture into gastric sleeve surgery, take time to fully research on the procedure. Attend free seminars nearby, write down all your questions, and ask them. If you think of any later, ask them in an online forum, or to anyone who has already had gastric sleeve surgery. Read testimonials to encourage yourself with the successes, and make sure you know what kind of surgery you need and the pre- and post-operation requirements.
When you are ready, begin to research surgeons and payment plans. This preparation will allow you to make your decision when you are fully committed to what you want to do, and how you want to do it. This commitment is key to a successful gastric sleeve surgery experience.