Numerous research studies have shown that people after vertical sleeve gastrectomy are able to successfully lose weight and keep the new weight afterwards. According to researchers from Claraspital in Basel, Switzerland, averagely patients lose 57.4% of the excessive weight over 5 years. The gastric sleeve surgery was invented and advanced about a decade ago and “was initially intended to be a primary intervention in high-risk patients before laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or as the first step of biliopancreatic diversion duodenal switch”, say the aforementioned researchers.
But does the sleeve always work?
The answer to this question is simple. There is no such surgery that always works. However, we can observe that the results of a VSG are very similar to the results of a bypass. The gastric sleeve works in the vast majority of cases, but there are instances of gastric sleeve not working where people lose little weight, much too less than expected. Now, we should ask why it can be unsuccessful – but there are many reasons for that. More often than not, we tend to blame one of the two – the surgeon or the patient. The surgeon is accused of a lack of expertise, skills, dedication, making the wrong decisions, while the patient is accused of not following the doctor’s instructions, a wrong diet, lack of physical activity or discipline. But, we must take into consideration some other reasons, for example, individual genetics and biochemistry factors. Some people are just less likely to lose much weight even if the surgery was performed properly and the diet restrictions, as well as exercise instructions, are followed.
No matter what the causes are, gastric sleeve just does not work for some people. Then, we advise to start from scratch, that is following the balanced diet focused on proteins and vegetables with a lower intake of carbohydrates, doing regular training, even walking. Afterwards, patients may consider some medications enhancing weight loss and see if these steps work. If still no results are observed, patients make take advantage of the great virtue of a VSG surgery. Namely, the gastric sleeve can be combined with some other bariatric procedures and cause a spectacular weight loss. Some of the options include tightening the gastric sleeve, converting the sleeve into a gastric bypass or changing the sleeve to a duodenal switch surgery. Of course, it is the surgeon who makes the decision which revision surgery would be the most effective and which should be performed. Undoubtedly, more studies need to be performed to check which combinations give the best results and what is the success rate of each one. However, we can say that for now, the duodenal switch is the top procedure. It is performed laparoscopically, so fewer complications or side effects are involved. According to the data collected so far, duodenal switch leads to a significant weight loss with much fewer vitamin deficiencies involved in comparison to other combinations.
How to maintain gastric sleeve results?
Some people may think that after gastric sleeve, weight is reduced immediately and the excessive kilograms disappear in a magical way. But the truth is, the weight loss is always a process where the surgery is just one of the stages. This process is a challenge that requires a commitment, motivation and discipline from a patient. Also, the renowned bariatric surgeon Alan Schurict emphasises that “That’s something we stress with our patients- no one’s going to be perfect (…) Everyone’s allowed to have that digression every once in a while. Post-operative success is a bell-shaped curve. And just like in school, not everyone gets A’s, not everyone gets B’s, some people get C’s and they’re happy with it. But there are some that fall behind the curve.” He also adds that the most important is that people are aware of the mistakes they make and even if they break the diet or exercising routine once in a while, they realise it and get back on track fast. Dr Schuricht says “If you exercise enough you can make up for eating bad once or twice a week. If we make people so miserable that they don’t want to do what they need to do, they’re not going to do it. It’s human nature, so you have to find that balance between having fun once in a while, enjoying life, and making sure that you stay on track.” It is said that achieving the results after the gastric sleeve is a great challenge, but maintaining them is much more difficult. Patients should realise that there will be picks and valleys, but it is completely normal. Learning and implementing healthy habits and routine will allow for overcoming all difficulties.
Gastric sleeve in Poland has been growing in popularity for the recent years. The reason for that is the cheap price and the high quality of the procedure. While considering gastric sleeve abroad, people wonder what would happen if my VSG doesn’t bring the results. It is difficult to consult the doctor when he is in a different country. We would like to calm everyone down. Our bariatric patients are not left to their own devices. We are in contact after the surgery and our dieticians, psychologists and surgeons are eager to help anyone that has undergone the surgery in our clinic. We always make our patients aware that their battle starts in the clinic, but it will last for months or even years. If you would like to know more details about the affordable bariatric surgery and VSG abroad, just contact us!
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Marek is a great fan of medical tourism. He believes that medical tourism is a huge chance for many people, who cannot afford treatment in their home country.
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