Considering weight loss surgery to improve health? LSG could be for you

This content is sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medicine

For people who are severely overweight, bariatric surgery may be the right choice for weight loss. Surgery is often recommended by doctors when body mass index (BMI) is higher than 35 or when there are obesity-related medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis or high cholesterol. One of the newer choices for bariatric surgery is a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG).

Weight-loss benefits of LSG

In the first year after LSG, patients will lose up to 70% of their excess body weight. If BMI before surgery is 60 or more, they may lose about 125 pounds.

Studies also show that obesity-related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea or high cholesterol, are likely to improve.

The LSG procedure

After surgery, the stomach will look like the sleeve of a shirt, hence the name “sleeve gastrectomy.” Due to having a much smaller stomach, it will fill up quickly at mealtimes, causing people to eat less.

The part of the stomach that is removed secretes a hormone called ghrelin. This hormone is partly responsible for making people feel hungry. Removing this part of the stomach plays a role in decreasing hunger, which may help with weight loss.

LSG surgery is done in a hospital under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make about five small cuts in the stomach. He or she will do the surgery using a thin, long, telescope with a tiny camera at the end. Instruments are then used to remove about 70% of the stomach.

LSG surgery takes about one hour. Most people stay in the hospital for one night after surgery.

Risks of LSG surgery

  • LSG has low-risk complications such as:
  • Leaking from the staple line where the stomach has been removed
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot that forms in your leg and travels to your lungs and heart
  • Narrowing of the inside diameter of the new stomach (stricture)
  • Infection

After LSG Surgery

To help protect against GI problems and weight regain, patients should have lifelong follow up with a bariatric surgeon.

Weight loss after LSG slows down after a few years. For any weight loss surgery to succeed, there must be important lifestyle changes that include both better nutrition and regular exercise.

Insurance companies typically cover LSG, however, it is important to work closely with the surgeon’s office to accomplish the necessary insurance requirements.  These may include nutrition visits, mental health counselling, exercise consultation, and medial clearances.

If you have further questions regarding bariatric surgical options please feel free to contact The Sibley Center for Weight Loss Surgery at 202-370-6565 or www.sibleyweightloss.com .

Katherine Lamond, M.D., M.S., FACS, medical director and assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Bariatric Surgery at Sibley Memorial Hospital. Dr. Kate Lamond specializes in laparoscopic bariatric surgery, including adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy.

Kaitlin Cardile, MSN, AGACNP, is the program director for Johns Hopkins Bariatric Surgery at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She is a nurse practitioner with 9 years of experience and is passionate about weight management as a way to help patients prevent chronic diseases and improve their overall health.

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