One of the biggest dilemmas that bariatric patients face is which surgery to choose from. Which one is best? Which procedure will benefit me more?? Which is less risky? And to be honest, there’s not a perfect answer. Every person’s needs, weight, and health are different and whichever decision you make along with your surgeon will be the best for you. Any input I provide in my blog is based on my own experiences and personal opinions. Almost a year ago, I decided to move forward and I started my process. I searched for the best surgeons around the area and made an appointment. My surgeon explained the procedures and asked me which procedure I wanted to have, the feeling was overwhelming, I did not really know which one to choose, so I went home that day to think and decided which procedure I felt more comfortable with.
Gastric Sleeve: 80% of the stomach is removed, leaving a small pouch. 60%-75% of the excess weight loss is expected to happen during the first year.
Gastric Bypass: Stomach is separated into small upper pouch and a bigger lower pouch and the small intestine is moved to connect to both. Food will no longer go into some parts of your stomach and small intestine won’t absorb some food nutrients and fats. Gastric Bypass patients are expected to lose 15% or 20% more weight than gastric sleeve during the first year.
After I learned about the bariatric procedures, I decided to have the gastric sleeve. I decided it was the best option for me. The fact of rearranging my small intestine and the malabsorption of the gastric bypass was kind of a deal breaker. The gastric sleeve seemed like a more practical and less complicated procedure. The idea of just cutting and stapling my stomach, it seemed less risky to me. I did not want to deal with nutrient absorption problems. Even though malabsorption promotes more weight loss, I prefer my body to follow a more natural course and absorbs all its nutrients, even if that means less or slower weight loss.
Nevertheless, gastric sleeve does not produce dumping syndrome like gastric bypass. Dumping syndrome produces vomiting, cramps or diarrhea when sweets are consumed – some people opt for this procedure to prevent them from eating foods high in sugar. Dumping syndrome is a side effect that I personally do not want to experience. Gastric sleeve definitely helps control my food intake and teaches me to be mindful of food choices without pushing the body to that extreme. Also, some gastric sleeve patients experience refluxes after surgery; I personally haven’t experienced it.
It’s been six months since my gastric sleeve surgery and I have no regrets whatsoever, my recovery was smooth and I was back to work three weeks after the procedure. I’ve lost 100 pounds since then and I have changed my lifestyle completely. I feel healthier and better. I work out four days a week and my diets are very low in carbs, high in protein. Every day I wake up looking forward to work on my goals and reach the vision I have for myself. If you are considering having a bariatric procedure, choose the one that fits your needs and the one you feel most comfortable with.
Just remember, the surgery is a tool, not the solution. Do not go to the OR with the assumption that the surgery will work like magic and you will lose all the weight instantly. Probably, the first two months the weight will go away without much effort due to the liquid diet during the recovery stage, but after that hard work is required, and most importantly, a change of lifestyle must happen. Sometimes, we believe the surgery will fix the overeating problem when in reality our mindset is what needs to change first. I will be talking about my pre and post op life in the next blogs. Looking forward to hearing about you!!