Your surgeon will determine and explain what you need to do before having obesity surgery, but these are answers to some of the more common questions regarding tests and procedures you may be asked to do in preparation for your surgery.

What’s the difference between a gastric band and the gastric sleeve?

The sleeve gastrectomy is a newer option that has come available, like a gastric band, it’s aimed at limiting the amount that people eat at a sitting and controlling hunger, but it’s doing it in a slightly different way. A gastric sleeve involves the permanent removal of part of the stomach to achieve these aims. It has some advantages potentially over the gastric band in that people’s food choices seem to be unaffected and there isn’t the frequent adjustment and frequent visits to the surgeon required as there is with a band. On the other hand the procedure is a little more risky than a gastric band and it is permanent and a reversible. There is no right or wrong answer with these choices, each patient will make their own decisions to what suits their purposes best.

Why would a patient opt for a sleeve over a band?

Some patients simply do not like the concept of a foreign object in their body and the band certainly relies on the follow-up and the fills for its success and with the sleeve operation, these are not involved. People also seem to be able to tolerate the full range of food consistencies in the longer term than with the band.

With both procedures how much weight loss can I expect?

With the gastric band, we would expect a weight loss of about 50-60% of your so-called excess weight. So for example, if you currently weigh 100 kgs, and for your height you should be more like 50 to 55kgs, we might expect that you should lose up to 30 kgs of weight. With a gastric sleeve resection, you can expect to lose perhaps a little bit more, may be as high as 70% of your excess weight and that weight loss is a little fast and usually most of that’s in the first 12 months.

Does laparoscopic surgery decrease the risks?

No the laparoscopic approach involves the same risk as the open approach but it has several advantages in that there’s less pain, faster discharge from the hospital, and early return to normal activities.

How soon do I get back to work?

You will need at least 2 weeks off work following a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or bypass. You may need longer if your occupation involves heavy lifting or manual labour

Do I need to staying in overnight?

You will need to be in hospital for at least 72 hours after obesity surgery. You may need to be in longer if your surgery is more complicated (e.g. revising a previous operation) or if the surgery is done through an open incision. For general surgical procedures such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or for removal of gastric bands, you will only need to be in hospital overnight.

How soon can i get back to a normal diet?

In most cases there is a phasing in dietary process where you leave the hospital on a liquid diet. You go through a period of purée or baby food consistency diet and gradually merge back into solids and that can take 4 to 6 weeks.

What are the routine tests before weight loss surgery?

We individualize the workup process for each patient. Some people who are otherwise healthy may need little in the way of preoperative tests but if you do have any pre-existing heart or lung conditions, you may require further tests to ensure your safety.

In addition to surgery, what do I need to do to make it a success?

Surgery is certainly only one part of the process, it’s best considered a tool or an aid to the weight loss. You still need to monitor your choice of foods. You still need to be conscious of avoiding high calorie foods for example, and any physical activity that you can engage in……..exercise, will all help in the durability of the weight loss.

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