Sleeve gastrectomy is one of the bariatric surgery procedures, more commonly known as weight loss or obesity surgery.
It is a permanent, irreversible procedure, and is used when patients are morbidly obese and have been unable to lose weight by dieting and exercising, or if they have other life-threatening health problems exacerbated by their excess weight.
Like other forms of bariatric surgery, it reduces the size of the stomach so that it can’t hold as much food, thereby creating the feeling of fullness after consuming lesser amounts. The sleeve gastrectomy reduces the stomach to around a quarter of the size by creating a banana-shaped pouch in the top half of the stomach, with the remaining part of the stomach surgically removed.
Going to Bangkok for weight loss surgery is an extreme measure, but then you are probably at the stage where drastic action needs to be taken to transform your health and your life. It’s not something you should do on a whim, but something that needs careful consideration, both from your own point of view and your family’s.
The thought of any surgery is nerve-inducing, especially if you are going abroad. This is why it’s essential to find out all you can about the procedure – the pros and cons; the good and the bad. Be prepared so that you know what questions you need to have answered by your surgeon. They will discuss things with you beforehand and will be more than happy to put your mind at ease by answering any question, no matter how trivial it may seem.
Being relaxed prior to your surgery will help, which is why we always stress how important it is to feel at ease with your choice of surgeon and clinic. Giving you as much information as we can will help this process, so you can look up doctor qualifications, professional registrations and international affiliations, as well as view high definition clinic photos and real patient reviews. No-one can ever be 100% certain that surgery won’t be risk-free, but by making sure the basics are covered you are giving yourself a decent chance that it will be 100% successful.
Your surgeon will discuss with you the preferred option in weight loss surgery for your particular circumstances, but typically, if you can answer the following criteria you may be considered for a sleeve gastrectomy:
- Do you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above? or- Do you have a health condition, such as Type II diabetes, or high blood pressure, where weight loss would be beneficial?- Are you dedicated to changing your lifestyle to losing weight and maintaining weight loss?- Are you generally healthy?
Sleeve gastrectomy surgery usually takes between one and two hours. Most are done under a general anaesthetic with a laporoscope (i.e. keyhole surgery). The laparoscope is actually a tiny camera that is inserted through a small cut in your abdomen, which allows the surgeon to see inside on a monitor, instead of having to open up your abdomen with a large incision. Between 2 and 5 small incisions are made across your abdomen instead, and the camera and other instruments used in the surgery are passed through these incisions.
Through these incisions, around 75% of your stomach will be removed, with the remaining 25% stapled into a banana-like structure forming a tube. After surgery this tube will fill quickly with food, so you won’t be able to eat as much.
You will not be allowed to eat for a few days after surgery to give your digestive system time to heal. Foods will then be introduced slowly, starting with liquids, moving on to pureed and soft food, such as mashed potatoes, and building up to solid food. Your hospital stay will be between 2 and 5 days.
You will be given dietary guidelines about what to eat, and you may be required to take additional vitamin supplements.
You will need to take it easy for a few weeks, and it will take around a month before you can begin exercising. You will probably experience feelings of tiredness and aching as your body adjusts to this new, radical regime, but these will subside after a month or two.
You can make big savings with sleeve gastrectomies in Bangkok around AUD $9,000 compared to around AUD $20,000 in Australia.
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