If weight loss is in your new year goals, you may be wondering whether gastric sleeve surgery is right for you.
We asked Edward Hannoush, MD, surgical weight loss specialist with the Hartford HealthCare Digestive Health Institute, to explain how sleeve surgery works and what you need to know about the procedure.
How can gastric sleeve surgery help my weight loss?
It seems basic, but gastric sleeve surgery works because it reduces stomach size and what you can eat. This change then curbs metabolic signals and hormones that prompt you to eat.
“The body develops a set point for weight and metabolic signals work to maintain it. Sleeve surgery disrupts the signals so your body isn’t fighting against you,” says Dr. Hannoush.
The removed part of the stomach is where the hormones that make you feel satisfied after meal are produced and stored. Surgery limits or eliminates them allowing your new smaller stomach to dictate what you eat.
6 things to know about gastric sleeve surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery, like other approaches, is just one tool in the journey to a slimmer, healthier you, Dr. Hannoush stresses.
Here are six other things you should know about gastric sleeve surgery.
- Losing weight takes time. Gastric sleeve surgery isn’t a quick fix – it takes six to 12 months to lose the weight.
- Commit, commit, commit. Surgery or medication can help you lose weight. But exercise and healthy food and drink choices are essential for long-term success, Dr. Hannoush says.
- Your health calls the shots. Your weight loss journey is as unique as you are. A weight loss specialist can look at your health and goals and decide what time of surgery (or non-surgical approach) is right for you. For example, if you have diabetes or acid reflux disease, bypass – which reroutes the digestive system around your stomach – may be better for you.
- No going back. Sleeve surgery is not reversible. This surgery is a lifelong commitment to changing your gastrointestinal tract.
- Risks vs. benefits. Like any surgery, gastric sleeves come with risks. But, the chance of complications is much lower than other common surgeries like gall bladder removal or hip replacement. Plus, the team works with cardiologists and other specialists to screen patients and make sure surgery is the right choice for yo.
- An extended warranty on life. The bonus? Gastric sleeve surgery can add more years to your life by reducing (or even eliminating) life-threatening conditions like diabetes and sleep apnea.
Obesity is a disease, but treatment works.
An important step in weight loss success is reframing how you view obesity, says Dr. Hannoush.
“People need to understand obesity differently,” he begins. “It’s not just eating too much. It’s a metabolic disorder that tells your body you should hold more fat.”
Gastric sleeve surgery – and other types of surgical and medical weight loss – offer a safe and effective way to treat the disease. But taking the first step can be hard.
“Obesity comes with emotional baggage,” Dr. Hannoush says. “That becomes a barrier to doing what you need to do to get over it. I hope people will disassociate with the guilt and seek options like surgery to become a healthier version of themselves.”