Weight Loss Surgery Procedures

Many patients want to know all about the procedure before they go into hospital and have done as much as they can to gather as much information as they can.  This can reassure you when it comes to the time to go to hospital, however even if you have thoroughly researched your procedure, none of us really know how we will feel when we get to hospital.  It can be an emotional time for many, for some it is a relief after months of preparing and waiting for others it can be just as they expect.  Much will determine the length of your stay in hospital.  They type of surgery, the tests you will need, your physical condition and your recovery time will all determine time in hospital.  There can also be other factors such as support at home; if you have someone at home to look after you when you return home you are much more likely to be discharged earlier. 

Once you have decided to go ahead with weight loss surgery and decided on the type of surgery, you will probably be full of questions and concerns.  The best person to discuss these with is your consultant.  These discussions are important, take time to discuss the procedure with your consultant so you fully understand what is involved.

The surgery will be under general anaesthetic rather than local anaesthetic.  The procedure will last different lengths of time depending on what type of surgery you have and your medical history.  If you are suffering from any other health conditions then there may be added procedures that will lengthen the surgery time.  As a general rule a gastric ban procedures usually takes up to one hour.  Other procedures that involve more complex surgery – the bypassing of the small intestines such as sleeve gastrectomy take approximately 2 hours. 

The length of your stay in hospital will depend on the procedure and if you have any added health considerations, which may require extra tests pre-surgery.  Typically a gastric band patient will have a one-night stay as long as there are no complications or extra pre-surgery tests to be done.  This is the minimum stay for any weight loss surgery as gastric band is one of the simplest of all the weight loss surgeries.  Other procedures such as sleeve gastrectomy will require longer hospital stays, typically around 3 – 4 nights. 

Keyhole & Open Surgery 

The surgery for weight loss surgery is usually a mixture of keyhole and open surgery.  With modern advances in medicine it is now possible to have minimal cutting and therefore scarring.  Keyhole surgery involves surgeons making around four to five very small cuts to the upper abdomen.  Small instruments are then guided by a special telescope with a camera attached to it, to perform the operation.  Afterwards the cuts are closed with stitches.  Keyhole surgery minimizes the risk of infection and the affect of scarring after the surgery.  Open surgery is a more traditional method and necessary for procedures which are more complex.  A single cut is made on the upper abdomen, this cut is usually approximately 30cm in length.  Again the cut is closed with stitches after the surgery. 

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