Does anyone genuinely regret undergoing gastric sleeve surgery to lose weight? Those who have performed their due diligence about the procedure, sought out a skilled bariatric surgeon, and followed their doctor's advice rarely regret undergoing sleeve gastrectomy. Little data is available about post-surgical satisfaction regarding gastric sleeve, yet a study published in Obesity Surgery in 2021 indicates that generally, patients did not regret their decision to undergo surgery but had regrets that they did not have realistic expectations of gastric sleeve results. In other words, most indicated that they knew more about bariatric surgery and the challenges they would face in their post-surgical life.
Are There True Gastric Sleeve Regrets?
In a way, one could say yes. Some bariatric patients regret choosing gastric sleeves because they were disappointed about not reaching their weight loss goals. Failure to lose enough weight with gastric sleeve is a prime reason for revision surgery. However, creating a smaller new stomach via sleeve gastrectomy provides for easy conversion into gastric bypass or other bariatric procedures that have a malabsorptive component, allowing patients to lose additional excess weight.
The amount and rate at which patients drop pounds after weight loss surgery depend on factors that include:
- Biological sex
- Starting weight
- Body type
- Exercise habits
- Committing to a nutrition plan
You simply won't know your results until you are in the midst of your weight loss journey. That's why it's important not to create expectations before surgery so you won't have gastric sleeve regrets. Your results will be different than those of the next person, so don't measure your results against someone else's weight loss.
What You Wish You Knew Before Bariatric Surgery
Patients expressing what they wish they would have known before their surgery may be a more accurate way of expressing gastric sleeve regrets. Here are some of the most common regrets and what you can do to deal with them.
Regret #1 - Not Realizing How Much Your Relationship With Food Will Change
Eating is an emotional experience. Food is not just for survival. It's about socializing, self-reward, and often an emotional outlet. Many patients report disinterest in food, a common psychological regret, after gastric sleeve. You may want to enjoy your meals so badly, yet you find eating a chore. Getting extreme pleasure out of eating is a sign of food addiction, and if you don't change your eating habits and continue to eat junk food or overeat, you can derail your weight loss goals. Work with our bariatric dietician or a psychologist who can help repair your relationship with food.
Regret #2 - Not Learning to Eat Slowly Before Surgery
Eating too fast can make you overeat, but you'll also encounter another, bigger problem: food can get caught in your stomach pouch, causing pain. Some foods can become easily stuck, so always chew your food thoroughly before swallowing and pause between bites. Make each bite tiny and chew your food to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Eventually, this mindful practice will help you manage and enjoy eating again.
Regret #3 - Dealing With Excess Skin
With massive weight loss can come lots of excessive, stretched skin. Although not everyone experiences excessive skin, your age, skin elasticity, and the amount of weight you lose following bariatric surgery can make your skin droopy in areas like the neck, arms, shoulders, stomach, back, chest, legs, and private areas. Skin removal surgery performed by a plastic surgeon can help restore your emotional health, improve self-confidence, and make your clothes fit great
Regret #4 - Experiencing Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common side effect of rapid weight loss because you eat less food and absorb fewer nutrients, thereby stressing the body. This condition is temporary. Nevertheless, it is frustrating. Hair loss typically occurs between three and six months after surgery and can last up to a year after your surgery date. To minimize hair loss, consume a minimum of 70 grams of protein for women and 80-90 grams for men daily and take the recommended vitamin supplements.
Regret #5 - Body Dysmorphia, Still Seeing an Obese Person in the Mirror
It may sound strange, but after sleeve gastrectomy you may see the new version of yourself that everyone else does, no matter how much weight you lose. Your body may change so rapidly post-surgery that your mind may not be able to comprehend the difference, especially during the first 12 months. Because of this, many people still view themselves as obese or unhealthy, no matter how much weight they have lost.
Regret #6 - Losing Weight is Hard Work
Your healthcare provider counseled you that weight loss surgery is a tool to lose excess weight and not a magic pill, but did you think it would be that hard? Probably not. You'll have a lot to learn, like the difference between "head hunger" and true, physical hunger. You may feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster and may question your mental health when you feel depressed over plateaus and other setbacks. Get help from mental health professionals if post-surgery blues are getting the best of you.
Regret #7 - I Didn't Sign Up for the Side Effects
Serious side effects are rare, but keep in mind that gastric sleeve is a major surgical procedure. Bariatric surgery has altered your anatomy and your stomach will need time to heal and adjust. Keep in mind that even though pesky side effects like gas pain, nausea, belching, indigestion and incision pain are pesky, most side effects are only temporary. Follow doctor recommendations to minimize discomfort.
Regret #8 - Why Didn't I Get Gastric Sleeve Surgery Sooner?
Perhaps the only regret shared among most patients is why they didn't get weight loss surgery sooner. Once patients experience significant weight loss along with the resolution of conditions like high blood pressure, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders that prevent good health. Having sleeve gastrectomy is an act of self-love as it is an investment in your life. Changing your life by following a bariatric diet, exercising and taking vitamin supplements, and adopting an overall healthy lifestyle will help you achieve success in your weight loss journey.
Side effects to gastric sleeve surgery can take place, however, you do have some control in managing your operation and recovery. In any event, serious side effects are not the norm.
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