Three Things to Understand About Getting a Gastric Sleeve

There are several types of weight loss surgeries and procedures, so it helps to look at all of them to determine the right choice for you. The surgeries fall into two categories: malabsorptive and restrictive. The malabsorptive surgeries involve removing some of the small intestine so food isn't fully absorbed.

Restrictive surgery involves making the stomach smaller so it can't hold as much food. Gastric sleeve surgery makes your stomach smaller, so it's a restrictive surgery. It's permanent surgery that can't be reversed. Here are three more things to understand about this type of weight loss surgery.

1. Your Insurance Company Has to Approve The Surgery

Unless you pay for the surgery yourself, you'll have to comply with your insurance company rules for the surgery. This might include having a certain body mass index as well as medical problems caused by obesity. You may need to undergo counseling first, and your insurance company might even require you to lose a certain amount of weight before they'll approve the surgery to show you're serious about sticking to a diet.

2. Your Stomach Can Stretch Back Out

A gastric sleeve procedure makes your stomach much smaller so you get full on a small amount of food. You'll need to eat several small meals a day rather than three large ones. You need to be committed to following a healthy diet and the instructions of your doctor because it's possible to stretch your stomach back out.

This might not happen right away because you might get sick instead. However, once you've fully recovered from the gastric sleeve surgery and are eating a wide variety of foods again, you could stretch your stomach if you overeat. If your stomach becomes larger, you'll eat more and start gaining back your weight.

3. Manageable Pain Could Last Several Weeks

You're under general anesthesia for the gastric sleeve surgery, so you won't be aware of any pain until you wake up later. However, it takes time for the anesthetic to wear off, so your first day after surgery shouldn't be too painful. Plus, you'll have an IV while you're in the hospital and you'll receive pain medication through it.

Most of the pain will probably start once you go home from the hospital. This is because you no longer receive IV pain meds, and also because you're more active and moving around. You may have pain when you twist your body or stand up and sit down.

Your doctor will send instructions home concerning how to manage pain and what medications to take. You'll also need to be aware of normal pain and when pain could indicate a problem you need to talk to your doctor about it. You could need to stay home a week or more before you feel well enough to return to work. Your pain gradually gets better as the incisions from your gastric sleeve surgery heal. 

For more information about gastric sleeve surgery, be sure to contact a medical center near you.