One of the most rewarding aspects of my job as a bariatric surgeon is assisting patients in accomplishing their health-related goals through the use of minimally invasive procedures.
For some, these are goals they have pursued for decades and have only achieved after undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy. I consider myself fortunate: my vantage point allows me to witness a variety of remarkable changes.
Most people are well aware of the tremendous weight loss that the sleeve may bring, but in this article, I’ll point out 5 other benefits that are well within reach after undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy.
What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?
A sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure for weight loss that includes removing a major section of the stomach, leaving behind a smaller, “sleeve-shaped” stomach.
Read more about sleeve gastrectomies here.
In recent years, the procedure has been gaining in popularity. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic has estimated that approximately 150,000 sleeve procedures are performed in the United States alone—and that approximately 380,000 are conducted each year across the world. So why is this treatment so popular?
5 Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy
First and foremost, a sleeve gastrectomy is effective for weight loss. Obesity is a huge public health problem that has been connected to a number of other diseases and disorders that are quite dangerous.
Within the first year following bariatric surgery, patients can anticipate losing between 60 and 70% of their excess weight on average. This can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health and well-being.
Weight loss achieved through sleeve gastrectomy is often more sustainable compared to other weight loss methods. One study showed a 71% 3-year and 63% 5-year excess body weight loss after the sleeve gastrectomy. These results are far superior to those that are normally achieved via diet, exercise, and behavior modifications alone. This is due to the reduction in the size of the stomach and the hormonal changes that follow the treatment, which allow patients to sustain their weight loss over the long term.
Improvement of Related Conditions
Another benefit to a sleeve gastrectomy is that it can help improve related health conditions. There are a number of medical issues that are linked to obesity, and the vast majority of these conditions respond favorably to the significant weight loss and metabolic changes that are associated with sleeve gastrectomy.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea are among the disorders whose symptoms are alleviated or treated by the effects of a sleeve. This is a result of the body’s ability to respond to insulin, reduced blood pressure, and diminished upper airway tissue, which results in a more open airway during sleep.
Improved Mental Health
A third benefit of a sleeve gastrectomy is enhanced mental health. Many individuals who struggle with obesity may also struggle with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Individuals who lose weight may feel more comfortable in their bodies, experience improved self-esteem, and have a more positive body image. They may feel more motivated to engage in physical activities, social activities, and other aspects of life they may have previously avoided.
Additionally, weight loss can help people to improve their sleep and reduce stress, which can also have a positive impact on mental health.
Improved Quality of Life
A fourth benefit of a sleeve gastrectomy is an improved quality of life. As individuals shed excess weight, they may experience an increase in energy levels and physical capabilities, allowing them to participate in activities and hobbies that were previously challenging or impossible.
I have had patients do amazing things—like travel the world, ride horses, hike mountains, water ski, and do CrossFit—after surgery. While less impressive, the ability to cross their legs, tie their shoes, and exercise basic hygiene is of no less importance.
These things, large and small, are what make life exciting and worth living. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of patients who have a sleeve gastrectomy note a significant improvement in the quality of their life. In fact, some studies show that 100% of people have an improvement in quality of life after a sleeve gastrectomy.
While I can never guarantee an improvement in life satisfaction after surgery, the fact remains that improved quality of life is a highly likely outcome after a sleeve gastrectomy.
Finally, a sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively safe surgery by virtually any standard.
When you compare the 30-day mortality rate of a sleeve gastrectomy to the mortality rate of other common surgeries, you find that a sleeve is safer than many other procedures, including gallbladder surgery and hip replacement surgery.
Oftentimes, I have also seen that when I follow up over the long term, the surgical intervention results in better health and longer life. Sometimes, the most prudent course of action is to intervene early instead of waiting for a problem to develop.
Talk to Your Doctor About Sleeve Gastrectomy
In conclusion, a sleeve gastrectomy is an effective, relatively low-risk surgery for weight loss that can lead to improvement in obesity-related diseases, enhanced mental health, and an overall increase in one’s quality of life.
If you are considering a sleeve gastrectomy, it’s important to work with a qualified surgeon and team of healthcare professionals to determine if it’s the right option for you. I encourage you to contact Arkansas Heart Hospital’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute by calling (501) 219-7770. We would love to help you on your journey to better health.