Risks of Undergoing Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy: Find out about Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Complications
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy, also called vertical gastrectomy or sleeve gastrectomy, is a type of bariatric surgery typically suggested as an alternative to laparoscopic stomach banding. It’s a weight loss surgery that restricts the amount of food a patient can consume by removing 85 percent of the stomach without having to bypass the intestines. It’s considered a purely restrictive procedure, and it’s known as a safe option for individuals with low BMI who want to lose weight. The main advantages of this procedure include reduction of stomach capacity, minimization of ulcer and intestinal blockage risks, and elimination of the part of your stomach that stimulates hunger. If you’re thinking about undergoing vertical gastrectomy, this guide will help you understand the possible vertical sleeve gastrectomy complications and risks.
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Risks of Vertical Gastrectomy
Like all other surgical weight loss procedures, sleeve gastrectomy comes with certain risks and complications.
- Leaking of the sleeve – The procedure involves stapling inside the stomach, hence presenting a risk of the staples not staying in place and allowing leakage. Leaking stomach acids can lead to tissue infection that may require another operation.
- Wound infection
- Blood clot
- Potential regain of weight – The procedure doesn’t involve intestinal bypass, which means the stomach may stretch over time, thus leading to weight regain.
- Patients with higher BMI may need to undergo a second-stage operation to lose remaining excess weight. Still, two stages of operation are considered safer for patients with higher BMI.
- Soft calories, such as milkshakes and ice cream, may slow down weight loss because of absorption.
- The procedure is nonreversible because part of the stomach is removed. However, it can be converted to another weight loss operation.
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Mild and Severe Side Effects
Common side effects of vertical sleeve gastrectomy are diarrhea, dumping syndrome, and vomiting. Dumping syndrome happens when patients eat food quickly, while vomiting usually occurs because of acid reflux and improper diet. When you undergo sleeve gastrectomy, doctors recommend you eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly, and follow your surgeon’s dietary recommendations to avoid any mild and severe side effects. Major complications like esophagus issues, bleeding, and leaks can possibly arise when patients neglect proper diet and careful consumption of foods.
Vertical Gastrectomy as a Safe Option for Low BMI Individuals
Based on the results of procedures performed by Dr. Lee, Dr. Cirangle, and Dr. Jossart on 700 patients, vertical gastrectomy proved to be a safe and effective operation particularly for patients with lower BMI ranges. The results revealed no deaths and a less than 1 percent leak rate. Sleeve gastrectomy is recommended for:
- Individuals who are looking for an alternative solution because of concerns about the long-term side effects of intestinal bypass, which include anemia, vitamin deficiency, protein deficiency, osteoporosis, ulcers, and intestinal obstruction
- Those who have certain medical problems and conditions—such as major prior surgery, Crohn’s disease, anemia, and severe asthma—that restrict them from undergoing weight loss surgery
- Those who take anti-inflammatory medications and want to avoid associated side effects like ulcers
For those who don’t fit these criteria: 6 Types of Bariatric Surgery for Extreme Weight Loss
What to Expect after a Vertical Gastrectomy Procedure
Sleeve gastrectomy is a nonreversible procedure that usually takes one to two hours. After the surgery, you’ll most likely stay in the hospital for a couple of days. It takes a few weeks to recover from the surgery fully. You’ll experience a sore and swollen abdomen for several days, but your surgeon will likely prescribe pain medications to lessen your discomfort. Once you’re fully recovered, you’ll find some scarring in the stomach area. As mentioned earlier, one of the possible vertical sleeve gastrectomy complications is weight regain, so you’ll need to become accustomed to eating less food. You’ll also need to eat solid foods and avoid soft calories like ice cream. Your doctor will recommend a diet that consists of solid, semi-solid, and pureed foods. Most people who undergo vertical gastrectomy lose up to 80 percent of excess body weight within the first year after surgery.
Typical Outcomes after the Surgery
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is known as a starting point for obese individuals who are not suitable for gastric bypass surgeries or other bariatric surgeries. It offers heavy patients an opportunity to shed some pounds so that they can undergo a more complex surgery once they reach a qualified body size. Patients with less weight to lose usually experience effective weight loss after the procedure. However, those who consider it their only option for losing weight tend to experience difficulty in consuming tiny portions. Patients are required to maintain tiny food portions because their stomach pouch is reduced after the surgery. When a patient consumes large quantities, weight loss may stop because the pouch stretches, causing weight gain. Vertical gastrectomy is generally an effective procedure that entails long-term discipline. If you’re considering this option, it’s best to condition yourself to eat less so that you can maintain continuous weight loss.
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