Does Obesity Make You a Good Candidate for a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

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Posted: December 24th, 2018

It’s no secret that Americans are getting heavier overall. Obesity can cause significant medical, social, and psychological problems. Sometimes it makes normal daily activities impossible. For some individuals, bariatric surgery is the best alternative to solving the problem of being obese. One recently developed procedure is the sleeve gastrectomy. Learning about this technique and whether you are likely to be a good candidate for it is helpful before visiting a weight loss clinic.

What Exactly is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

When diet and exercise cannot achieve sufficient weight loss in an obese patient, bariatric surgery to restrict food intake is sometimes the remaining option. A sleeve gastrectomy is a laparoscopic surgical procedure. According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, most bariatric surgery is perform by laparoscopy. A laparoscopic doctor makes small cuts through which a small camera and surgical instruments are inserted.

The Mayo Clinic indicates that a sleeve gastrectomy was originally designed as the first stage of a procedure known as a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. For some patients, however, the sleeve gastrectomy alone is a sufficient treatment.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this procedure involves dividing the stomach along the vertical length, removing about 85 percent of it, and shaping the remainder into a sleeve-like organ. The objective is limiting the amount of food and calories ingested without interfering with normal absorption of vitamins and minerals.

There are a number of advantages associated with a sleeve gastrectomy:

  • Preservation of the stomach’s function
  • Significant decrease in hunger due to decrease of an appetite-stimulating hormone
  • Minimized risk of developing ulcers
  • Fewer follow-up visits than those required for surgeries that include band adjustments
  • Eligibility of patients with medical conditions that prevent gastric bypass surgery

Good Candidates for this Weight Loss Treatment

Not everyone who is overweight is a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery. Marina Del Rey Hospital indicates that a patient must meet certain criteria:

  • Be morbidly obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40
  • Have a BMI of at least 35 if there is an additional weight-related health problem
  • Be able to handle the physical stress of the procedure
  • Possess the psychological readiness necessary to make dramatic changes in lifestyle and handle any unexpected reactions
  • Have a positive attitude regarding health, food, and exercise
  • Pass an insurance company’s requirement for a psychological consultation if required before surgery

A bariatric surgeon determines the best surgical option for each patient based on individual circumstances. This involves taking into consideration many factors, such as the individual’s BMI, eating habits, health issues, any prior surgeries, and the risk of each procedure available.