While weight loss surgery has a track record of success that dates back more than four decades, this option isn’t desired or advisable for all people. When surgery just isn’t a good fit, a new alternative is offering hope for those who need to shed pounds to improve and safeguard health. Called the sleeve gastroplasty, this procedure is similar to the most popular surgical intervention. Unlike the sleeve gastrectomy, however, gastroplasty doesn’t involve surgery.
The sleeve gastroplasty procedure was developed to essentially mimic some of the changes that are created in the body when a gastrectomy is performed. Instead of using a laparoscopic surgical procedure to physically remove a portion of the stomach and reshape the remainder, gastroplasy is performed using an endoscope and a suturing device. Rather than remove a portion of the stomach, which would involve surgery, the gastroplasty calls for cinching the organ. The end result is a smaller, banana-shaped pouch that cannot hold as much food as a normal stomach.
Gastroplasty is seen as a viable option for people who cannot physically undergo surgery, cannot afford it or simply are unwilling to take this course of action. The procedure is considered minimally invasive and isn’t associated with the side effects commonly linked to surgery. Even so, it is important for patients considering gastroplasty to understand that complications may arise. Nausea, vomiting, stomach leakage and infections may result, but are rare.
Researchers have found that gastroplasty does produce significant results. Although not likely to promote the high rate of excess weight loss experienced after the gastrectomy, gastroplasty patients may see as much as 18 percent of their body weight come off after a year.
People who are considered morbidly obese are strongly urged to speak with their healthcare providers about all weight loss options. If surgery isn’t the best choice, gastroplasty may provide the help needed to lose weight and keep it off.
Weight loss surgery isn’t a panacea. While it’s well-documented that procedures such as the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy can help people shed large percentages of excess body fat, these operations aren’t a “cure” for obesity. In order to enjoy long-term success, patients who choose this path must be willing to commit to making major and lasting lifestyle changes.
These tips can help those who plan to undergo bariatric surgery count themselves among the 85 percent or so of patients who report lasting success:
• Prepare in advance – This doesn’t just mean following doctor’s pre-surgical advice. It also means understanding exactly what to expect, undergoing counseling and nutritional assistance in advance and generally having a strong grasp on what life will be like after surgery. Patients who are well-prepared are often better able to adjust to the dietary and lifestyle changes that are musts after weight loss surgery.
• Follow nutritional advice closely – Since most weight loss procedures call for a dramatic reduction in stomach holding capacity, diet will matter after surgery. It is important to work closely with a nutritionist to ensure the diet selected is one that packs nutrition into every bite.
• Be sure to get physical – Exercise is a key component in helping weight loss surgery patients obtain and maintain a healthy weight. It is important to seek advice from a doctor on when exercise may start after surgery and what type of exercise is deemed suitable. Keep in mind that as weight comes off and fitness levels improve, more vigorous activity will likely be recommended.
• Take advantage of support – The quest to lose weight and keep it off is one that will continue for years after surgery. Be sure to take advantage of any support system available to stay on track with diet and exercise. Some surgeons even offer online support groups to help their former patients years down the road.
Weight loss surgery can produce tremendous results. People who want to make sure the weight stays off, however, need to be committed to lasting change. For more advice on how to enjoy long-term success after surgery, consult with a licensed bariatric surgeon.