Enjoy a healthier lifestyle with Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.
Severe obesity presents many challenges. Even if you manage to shed some pounds, the weight often comes back, especially if you’re relying on diets that make you feel deprived or have other issues that may be contributing your weight difficulties.
If you’ve been struggling with weight loss without success, you may be a candidate for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG).
- It’s a type ofweight reduction surgery involving the removal of a significant portion of the stomach.
- The resulting smaller stomach will make you feel fuller sooner after eating, reduce calorie absorption from food, and encourage you to consume less food per meal.
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Preparing for VSG Surgery
The first step in preparing for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy is to fully understand what’s involved with this type of surgery. It’s not a temporary solution for weight loss. It’s a procedure meant to dramatically improve quality of life. Initial preparations will include a physical examination and a discussion of prior weight loss attempts. Underlying health conditions such as type 2 diabetes will need to be as under control as possible prior to surgery. Patients may see a few different specialists during the preparation phase, including a clinical psychologist to evaluate mental preparedness for the surgery and a dietician to discuss necessary eating adjustments, some of which will need to start before surgery.
How VSG Is Performed
Performed under general anesthesia, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy is typically done with a series of small incisions in the stomach area. A special camera called a laparoscope will allow the surgeon to view the area where adjustments to the stomach need to be made. Most of the stomach is removed. What remains is connected together and a new pouch, or sleeve, is created that’s about the size of a banana. Sphincter muscles that allow food to enter and leave the stomach aren’t changed. Removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is sometimes done at the same time.
Recovery and Return to Normal Activities
After being released from the hospital, you’ll be on a diet that mostly consists of liquids such as broths and soups. When you do transition back to solid foods, avoid drinking water while eating so you can eat enough food without feeling full too soon. Pain medications are often prescribed, but only for short-term use. Most patients are able to walk on a regular basis shortly after surgery to stretch muscles and get some light exercise. You’ll be given specific instructions for bathing and other daily activities. Return to work will depend on the physical demands of your occupation.
Exercise and Fitness After VSG
You’ll be encouraged to increase your baseline physical activity to maintain weight loss results after you’ve recovered from VSG surgery. It’s a good idea to begin a structure fitness and exercise routine about a month or two after surgery. The general recommendation is mild-to-moderate activity at least three times a week. Doing so within the first six months of surgery is especially important since this is the period when most of the excess weight will be lost. It’s a good idea to develop new habits during this time to boost the odds of maintaining results.
Long-term Diet and Nutrition Adjustments
Permanent changes to how you eat and the ingredients you use to cook and prepare your meals will need to be made following VSG surgery due to gastrointestinal tract modifications. Specific dietary guidelines will vary by patient, but generally you’ll want to avoid sugary snacks and foods where sugar is listed as one of the main ingredients. Incorporate as many green, leafy vegetables and colorful fruits into your diet as possible to maintain your intake of essential nutrients. Nutritional supplements are often recommended to further compensate for any nutritional imbalances or deficiencies. Carbonated drinks, foods with a high fat content, and excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided. Light and healthy snacks between meals are fine.
At least 20 percent of the population of every state in the United States is considered overweight or obese, according to stats cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy isn’t a solution for everyone living with extra pounds, but it can be an effective means for sustained weight loss for people who are committed to making productive health and lifestyle changes with the help of their doctor. Begin your exploration of VSG with an initial discussion with a weight loss surgeon to determine if it’s the right step you’ll need to take to see results likely to matter to you.