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FAQs – Gastric Sleeve for weight loss surgery

Frequently Asked Questions – Sleeve Gastrectomy

Is the sleeve a painful procedure?

Not really. Some patients have discomfort around the keyhole incisions for a few days. Occasionally patients experience shoulder tip discomfort which is related to diaphragm irritation. About 5% of people experience nausea after the general anaesthetic

Will I need to take a lot of time off work after a sleeve ?

Most people take 1-2 weeks off work afterwards, depending on how physically active they are at work.

How soon after my sleeve can I drive ?

Most patients can drive after 4-5 days

How big will my portion size be ?

A small cup size, approximately 250mls. Patients are on a pureed diet for 2 weeks and by 6-8 weeks should be able to eat all food types including steak , chicken and bread.

When do I need to come back for postop appointments?

We will organise for you to see Dr Armstrong and the dietician at 1-2 weeks post op. Generally we then see you again at 6 months and then yearly for at least 5 years

Is the procedure covered by my health funds ?

The health funds covers some of the expenses but there will be a ‘gap’ to pay. The exact ‘out of pocket’ costs vary between health funds. It is easiest to ring our medical rooms on 9386 2634 to get an estimate.

Can I use my superannuation to assist with “gap” payments?

Patients may apply to the Department of Human Services (www.humanservices.gov.au),  for an early release of superannuation funds to cover part of the “out of pocket” cost of undergoing obesity surgery.  Check with your financial adviser to see if this is right for you.

More details can be found here.

If you chose to apply for this, three documents need to be lodged:

  1. completed application form – click here to download.
  2. A letter of support from your General Practitioner
  3. A letter of support from from our practice (we will provide this following your initial consultation)

Note that processing time may take around 6 weeks.

.Will I need to take vitamin supplements afterwards ?

We have not seen too many problems with nutritional difficulties after sleeve gastrectomy. We recommend patients take Multivitamins daily . Every year for 5 years Dr Armstrong will organise a set of nutritional and metabolic blood tests prior to your subsequent visits. It may be necessary for a small number of patients to have Vitamin B12 or iron injections.

Will I need plastic surgery afterwards ?

About 10% of patients will require skin fold reduction surgery after weight loss. If you are younger it is not so likely as your skin is still fairly elastic and can remodel. For older patients with high BMIs it may be required. We usually would wait until at least 12-18 months from surgery (when your weight loss will have plateaued) and then consider if any skin surgery is needed. Dr Armstrong does perform abdominoplasty ( a tummy tuck) or if more radical surgery is required he will refer you on to a plastic surgeon.