I hear a lot of chat about bougie sizes and which size is best. Clients worry that their surgeon may have used a bigger or smaller size and this can cause a lot of anxiety and worry among the weight loss surgery community. Bougie sizes come in these measurements/ 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 46, 60. The measurement is like a guide that the surgeon uses to see how tight the sleeve will be. The bougie is placed into the oral cavity – passed through the esophagus and down to the end of the stomach where it meets the pylorus. When the surgeon is finished with the sleeve part of the surgery, the bougie is then removed again the same way and this may be the reasoning why some bariatric patients have a sore throat when they wake up.
Many surgeons today will do a sewing line over the staple line which can also make the sleeve a bit tighter in some cases. You can compare the different size of the bougies to the size of a regular Bic pen to a highlighter marker. They are both the same shape and length but the highlighter is a bit thicker. The most standard of bougie sizes are 32. Surgeons should be open to discuss the bougie with you and explain their rationale as to why they prefer one size of bougie over another. The good news is that it seems that bougie sizes after 3 years don’t make any real difference.
Before VSG surgery, a stomach will hold around 32 to 48 ounces. That’s 4 to 6 cups of food that fits into a regular stomach.
After VSG surgery, a stomach will hold 1 or 1.5 cups of food during a meal. That is also the amount of food a VSG patient will be able to hold many years post surgery and possibly for life. You will not be able to stretch out your stomach anywhere close to its original size. Of course it will be up to the VSG patient to choose their foods wisely because even with a small stomach, weight gain can occur. It will always depend on what types of food are being introduced into the sleeve. Crunchy, slider type foods like crackers and cookies are a sure fire way to fill up the sleeve with high caloric low nutrient foods which are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars. This will lead eventually to weight gain.
Depending on the type of food eaten, a fully matured sleeve will be able to hold 8 – 12 ounces of food at one seating. It’s important that the food choices you are making are based on real, live, whole, natural, good quality food. Eat your protein and vegetables first with a small serving of healthy fat. Don’t eat refined or processed foods. Remember, your journey to health depends always on the choices you make. I urge you to make healthy choices in order to reach your goals and maintain them.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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