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• How much weight can I expect to lose?
Whilst every person is different, we would expect our gastric sleeve patients to lose around 6-7 stone within the first 12 months. However, many of our patients have lost as much as 11 stone within this time. This is largely dependent on how compliant the patient is with the after-care program.

• Will I have pain after the operation?
Yes, you are likely to have some discomfort from two main sources. Firstly the entry sites, through which the operating instruments and camera were passed through, can be sore. Secondly, it is quite common to have left shoulder pain after the procedure. This is actually pain coming from the diaphragm which is the large, thin sheet of muscle separating the chest from the abdominal cavity. It usually settles down after a few days. In general, most do not have severe pain and what discomfort they do have responds to simple painkillers such as Paracetamol.

• How soon can I drive after the operation?
You should not drive for 2-3 days after surgery to allow the effects of the anesthetic and any post-operative analgesia (painkillers) to wear off. Thereafter you may find driving a little uncomfortable until the port sites have fully healed.

• How long will I be off work?
This depends upon what you do for a living, but if you have a sedentary occupation you can expect to be back at work after about one week. Some patients have returned to work within a couple of days. If your job involves some lifting, you may need a longer period to allow the wounds to heal. A medical certificate can be supplied, if necessary.

• What about scars following surgery?
Generally there is minimal scarring. The incisions are very small, as the procedure is carried out through keyhole surgery. These are sutured and/or glued and will normally heal in 10-14 days. The scars should fade gradually. Some people have a greater tendency to form keloid, which may result in thicker and more prominent scars.

• Should I expect frequent vomiting?
There should be no vomiting at all. The purpose of the gastric sleeve is to reduce your portion size and appetite. It is NOT meant to stop you eating. If you are vomiting frequently, you are most likely over-eating and you should contact us right away.

• Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
Because you are eating much less and losing weight, we recommend that you take a soluble multivitamin each day just to make sure you are covering all your requirements, especially B vitamins, folate and iron. The multivitamin which we recommend is Centrum A-Z.

• What about physical activity?
Regular physical activity is a very important factor in achieving your weight loss goals. You will be given specific information and advice about physical activity after surgery, but to begin with we strongly recommend walking. As you become fitter you may wish to become involved in more strenuous forms of activity and there is no exercise that must be excluded.

• Is it true that sweet eaters do less well with a band?
No. Although it was a very common belief, even among health professionals, that sweet eaters will lose less weight after weight loss surgery, this is emphatically NOT true. There is good scientific data to show that sweet eaters do just as well as anyone else.

• Can the gastric sleeve be reversed?
No. The gastric sleeve procedure cannot be reversed.

• Is it safe to have other surgical procedures?
Yes. It is usually safe to have other surgical procedures but it is important to let your surgeon know you have had a gastric sleeve in the past.

• Will I be constipated?
As you eat less the amount of residue (especially fibre) in your diet falls and your bowel activity decreases. Although rare, if you do become constipated, there are plenty of effective remedies to deal with the problem. Your pharmacist will be happy to advise you on the best solution.

• What happens if I become pregnant?
The gastric sleeve does not interfere in any way with normal pregnancy, of course the likelihood of becoming pregnant is much higher as a result of the surgery, since weight loss is known to increase fertility. The main priority during pregnancy is ensuring that you are getting enough nutrients in your diet.

• Is it safe to have other surgical procedures?
Yes. It is usually safe to have other surgical procedures but it is important to let your surgeon know you have a gastric band.

• Will I be constipated?
As you eat less the amount of residue (especially fibre) in your diet falls and your bowel activity decreases. If you do become constipated, there are plenty of effective remedies to deal with the problem. Your pharmacist will be happy to advise you on the best solution.

• What happens if I become pregnant?
The gastric band does not interfere in any way with normal pregnancy, of course the likelihood of becoming pregnant is much higher as a result of the band, since weight loss is known to increase fertility. There is a protocol for managing the band if you become pregnant, so you need have no concerns about this.

• Can I drink alcohol?
Yes – in moderation but you need to exercise caution. Alcohol has a high calorific value (7kcal/gram) and provides a lot of unwanted calories. However, there are health benefits of moderate alcohol intake and some evidence to suggest that it may even enhance weight loss.

• Can I eat anything in moderation?
Technically, yes. However, because you can only eat small amounts, it is quite important to include foods which are rich in protein but low in fat and sugar. We encourage you to eat vegetables, fruit, whole-grains, lean meat and fish.

• What about air travel?
There are no problems with air travel whatsoever, after gastric sleeve surgery.

• Am I required to attend regular follow up appointments, similar to gastric band patients?
No. Whilst your after-care allows you to come for an unlimited number of appointments, the gastric sleeve does not require any “adjustments”, like a gastric band does. Therefore, you can choose when you do and don’t want to come into the clinic. Having said that, we would encourage you to attend the clinic as often as needed. Research shows that patients who attend regularly will generally lose more weight.

• Will my gastric sleeve require lifetime “maintenance”, similar to the gastric band?
No. Whilst the gastric band does require some maintenance through fills and de-fills, over the long term, your gastric sleeve doesn’t. The gastric sleeve is designed to work from day one. There should be no need for any adjustments over the long term.

• Will I need cosmetic surgery to get rid of excess skin?
Possibly. The amount of lax skin depends upon your age and weight before your operation. Generally, the older and heavier you are, the more likely you are to have lax skin. Younger patients have a greater degree of natural elasticity in the skin, so there is a lot of re-modelling as weight loss progresses. The most common need is to have the abdominal apron removed, though some patients have more extensive “body-contouring”. Whatever your inclination, you should wait at least one year, preferably two, before making any decisions about cosmetic surgery. It is imperative that any corrective surgery be done by a specialist surgeon. If you are interested in cosmetic surgery, please contact us and we will arrange a consultation with our own bariatric cosmetic specialist.
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“6 months in and I’m 3 stone down, taking less of my medication and I can start going for walks!”

“I honestly didn’t think I would ever lose weight. I had resigned to the fact that I would stay at my size for the rest of my life. I owe my life to Dr. Hewin.”

“Dave and the weight loss team have been so helpful to me from the very start. Whenever I feel like I need some motivation I can pick up the phone or drop into them”

“The biggest change for me would have to be not needing to buy my clothes from a catalogue anymore!”
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