Is it Worth it to Have a Sleeve Gastrectomy?
When you’re considering any elective medical procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have elective surgery is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of having a sleeve gastrectomy. If you want to learn more about what the procedure and the recovery are like, please visit Sleeve Gastrectomy: the Procedure and Recovery. For more about the many resources Doctor Review has to offer, you can check out our Bariatric Surgery Overview page.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential elective surgery with your own doctor(s), including your primary care physician and the surgeon who will perform your surgery if you decide to proceed.
Any surgery has risks, and they should be carefully weighed before you decide to proceed. There is a risk of a hernia developing in the abdominal wall where the incisions were made. This means that internal organs poke through the abdominal wall, causing pain and potentially other problems. There is a chance of infection, which may require antibiotics and may also lead to a less aesthetically-pleasing result. There is also a chance of excessive bleeding during the surgery, which occasionally requires a blood transfusion. Some people react badly to anesthesia. There is a small risk of death due to any surgery. Although it’s important to be informed, these risks are small in most healthy people; talk with your surgeon to determine your personal risk.
The sleeve gastrectomy has some specific risks as well. It induces weight loss of around 50% of excess weight, which is greater than the lap band but less than the duodenal switch procedure. It’s a more invasive procedure than the lap band, with higher rates of complications, and it is not a reversible procedure. It also requires the patient to stay in the hospital for about two days after the surgery.
Also, because the patient must now eat less food, it’s also important that the food that is consumed contains adequate nutrients, and nutritional supplementation may be necessary to ensure that the patient is getting sufficient vitamins and minerals. If not, then nutritional deficiencies may occur, although this risk is less with sleeve gastrectomy than with some other types of bariatric surgery.
The benefits of bariatric surgery can occur in many areas of a person’s life. The dramatic weight loss usually has a huge impact on self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, it gives people the chance to participate in many activities, particularly physical activities, that they were previously unable to be a part of because their excessive weight and lack of energy prevented it. Besides the impact on the person’s lifestyle, bariatric surgery can also impact health. Excessive weight is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Many studies have shown a partial or complete improvement in patients with type 2 diabetes who undergo bariatric surgery. The improvement is partly explained by the weight loss, but there are also changes in hormones and other factors that contribute to the improvement in health.
The sleeve gastrectomy has some particular advantages over other bariatric surgery procedures. The amount of weight loss induced by this procedure is greater than that of the adjustable gastric band (lap band) and comparable to that of gastric bypass.
Another advantage of the sleeve gastrectomy is that it doesn’t bypass any part of the small intestine. Because the small intestine absorbs nutrients, bypassing the small intestine can lead to deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and protein, because these factors can’t be adequately absorbed by the remaining small intestine. The sleeve gastrectomy avoids this problem, as it leaves the small intestine completely intact.
According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons, the average fee for bariatric surgery is around $12,000 to $26,000. This varies between surgeons and in different regions, so check with the surgeon you’re considering to find out the exact price. Additional costs, including the anesthesia, operating room fees, medications, and possibly additional items, may not be included in this fee. For more detail, please see our Sleeve Gastrectomy Cost page.