3 Myths About Having Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Getting a gastric sleeve has become one of the most common, if not the most common, bariatric surgeries. It tends to be safer and more consistent than earlier procedures like the gastric bypass procedure, and patients generally get great results. Sadly, though, there are still a few untrue myths floating around about gastric sleeve surgery.

1. A gastric sleeve will allow you to lose weight effortlessly.

You have this surgery and the pounds melt right off, right? Wrong. Getting gastric sleeve surgery can really help jump-start your weight loss. It makes it a lot harder for you to over-eat, helping you stick to a healthier meal plan. However, you still have to put in the work. You still have to stick to a certain diet, avoid certain foods, exercise, and see the doctor regularly for checkups. A better way to put it would be to say that a gastric sleeve makes weight loss more realistic; it doesn't make it effortless.

2. A gastric sleeve is only for the extremely obese.

Several TV shows that depict morbidly obese patients undergoing gastric sleeve surgery have caused many people to believe that only the largest individuals are candidates for the surgery. This is not the case. Most doctors perform gastric sleeve surgery on patients with a BMI over 40. For reference, if you are 5'5" tall, your BMI is 40 when you weigh just over 240 pounds. Doctors will also perform gastric sleeve surgery on patients with a lower BMI if the person has diabetes, heart disease, or another weight-related medical condition. So if you've been trying in vain to lose weight, it's worth talking to your doctor about gastric sleeve surgery, even if you're not extremely obese or confined to bed.

3. Gastric sleeve surgery is temporary.

You might be confusing this procedure with a lap band procedure, which is common. Gastric sleeve surgery involves stapling off part of your stomach, leaving behind only a long, sleeve-shaped stomach. This cannot be reversed. Lap band surgery involves putting a band around the stomach to constrict it. This can be reversed. If you do prefer a temporary procedure, a gastric sleeve is not it. Talk to your doctor to determine whether lap band surgery, the true temporary procedure, is right for you.

If you've heard something else you think might not be true, ask your doctor for some clarification about getting gastric sleeve surgery.