We know that obesity can lead to a range of conditions. In fact, if not treated, it can be life-threatening. This is what surgeons and medical professionals look at when they assess whether or not someone is a suitable candidate for a gastric sleeve or not. Specifically, they look to answer three questions.
- Will A Gastric Sleeve Lead to Significant Weight Loss?
This can always be answered simply – yes. Bariatric surgery leads to more weight loss than any other form of treatment. For weight loss surgery to be seen as successful, people have to lose at least 50% of their excess weight, and they must be able to maintain this for five years. By those standards, weight loss surgery is incredibly successful:
- After five years, people hold an average weight loss of between 45% and 75% with a gastric bypass.
- After five years, people hold an average weight loss of between 40% and 60% with a vertical banded gastroplasty.
Various studies have also shown that 96% of patients maintain their 50% weight loss after 14 years. Compare this to studies of people who have lost weight without surgery, using instead behavior modification, obesity medication, exercise, and diet, the average weight loss was just three pounds over a four year period.
- Will A Gastric Sleeve Lead to Health Benefits?
Again, this can be answered with a wholehearted yes. According to the IFSO (International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity), a number of health benefits are experience consistently in patients who have had a gastric sleeve or other form of gastric surgery. These benefits include:
- Longer lives.
- Lower chance of premature death.
- A cure for hypertension in 50% of patients.
- Visible improvements in levels of blood fats and bad cholesterol.
- Lower chance of heart disease.
- A cure for type 2 diabetes in 80% of patients.
- Significant reductions in insulin resistance, hyperinsulimia, and hyperglycemia.
- A cure for obstructive sleep apnea in 75% of patients.
- A relief for shortness of breath in 75% to 80% of patients.
- A significant reduction in asthma attacks, particularly if these are caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- A significant reduction in conditions such as urinary incontinence, heartburn, arthritis, and lower back pain.
- A lower chance of developing lower limb venous disorders.
- What Are the Associated Health Risks?
Finally, surgeons must consider the health risks associated with a gastric sleeve. While the health benefits are very obvious, it is important that they outweigh the associated risks and, as with any surgical procedure, risks do exist. In fact, there are three main categories of risks that patients must be aware of, being:
- Complications during surgery. All surgical procedures carry a certain amount of risk. The chance of them developing complications depends on the quality of the services in the operating room, the experience of the anesthesiologist, the experience of the surgeon, and the condition of the patient.
- Premature death, which happens in between 1% and 2.5% of weight loss surgery.
- Post-operative health risks. The exact risks depend on the procedure that has been completed, and the overall physical health and wellbeing of the patient.