The gastric sleeve, also known as the sleeve gastrectomy, is a type of weight loss surgery. A surgeon removes more than half of the stomach, leaving behind a portion in the shape of a sleeve and about the size of a banana. Unlike other types of weight loss surgery, such as the Lap Band, the gastric sleeve cannot be reversed. Therefore, it is important for you to be absolutely sure that you can handle the effects of the surgery before you choose to undergo it. Asking yourself the following three questions can help you make up your mind.
Can You Afford the Surgery?
The sleeve gastrectomy costs several thousand dollars. Some health insurance companies will cover all or part of the cost. You must usually go through a lengthy pre-qualification process. If your insurance will not pay, you will have to pay out of pocket. Some people take out a medical loan or a personal loan to help handle this expense. It is important to remember, though, that if you experience complications from the surgery, you will be responsible for these costs as well.
Are You Ready to Follow a Strict Diet?
Immediately after the surgery, you will be restricted to small portions of soft foods. You will usually drop a lot of weight very quickly during this time. As your stomach heals, you will be able to resume eating regular foods. It's crucial to keep the portion size small. Otherwise, the sleeve will expand and you will regain the weight you have lost.
Are You Ready to Lose the Weight?
People overeat and gain weight for many different reasons. Some people use foods that are high in fat and calories as a way of comforting themselves. Others, mainly women, feel that being overweight protects them from unwanted sexual attention. Before having the gastric sleeve procedure, it's a good idea to see a counselor or therapist to explore the reasons behind your weight gain. You may also want to consider therapy after the procedure to make sure that you are comfortable with the changes taking place in your body.
Weight loss surgery such as the gastric sleeve can improve your health and enhance your body image. It is not, however, a procedure to be taken lightly. Before you undergo a sleeve gastrectomy, it is important to get your finances in order, to be sure that you are willing to follow a strict diet plan, and to ensure that you are emotionally ready to lose weight. Only once you have addressed these factors should you go through with the surgery.