Sleeve Gastrectomy

Gastric sleeve surgery is a very popular weight loss procedure.

Also known as the sleeve gastrectomy, this surgery is a restrictive procedure in which the capacity of the stomach is reduced by about 75%.

This aids the patient in weight loss and improves overall health as a result.

How Does Sleeve Gastrectomy Work?

The sleeve gastrectomy permanently removes a large portion of the stomach. Since it can only hold a small amount, you will eat small meals and still feel full. This reduces the calories a patient consumes in a day.

Furthermore, the procedure removes the portion of the stomach responsible for producing hunger stimulating hormones, reducing your appetite.

As soon as the procedure is completed, weight loss will begin. After around 18 months, the sleeve stretches. Therefore, it is important to maintain correct portion sizes.

If you eat the recommended foods, you will not feel hungry or deprived. However, you will need to take vitamin supplements for life, including B12 injections.

Cost of Sleeve Gastrectomy

The cost of your procedure will vary greatly depending on your location, your provider, your insurance company and more. Your provider will be better equipped to answer this question.

Good Candidates

How do I know if gastric sleeve is right for me? Well, suitable candidates for the procedure are people who:

  • Have a BMI of 40 or more
  • Have a BMI of 35 or more accompanied by other medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • Are healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia and surgery
  • Are committed to losing weight and maintaining this loss through a healthy lifestyle

If you have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise, or even through medical weight loss programs, for at least six months with no success, then you may wish to consider gastric sleeve surgery.

During the Procedure

To begin, you will be given general anesthesia. Most providers perform this surgery laparoscopically and it takes between 60-90 minutes.

The surgeon will make several small incisions in the stomach and insert a long, thin telescope with a light and camera on one end, along with other surgical instruments, to remove a large portion of the stomach. Once it is removed, your new stomach will be sealed with staples.

After the Procedure

You will need to stay in the hospital for a few days after your surgery. You will most likely need medication for pain relief, and you will be on a liquid diet for several weeks before progressing to soft, moist foods and eventually solid foods. You will discuss a strict gastric sleeve diet with your surgeon and dietitian.

After your procedure, you will need to rest and avoid straining your wound. Most people return to their normal daily activities within two to four weeks. Your surgeon will discuss this with you as well as when you can begin an exercise program.


Common side effects include pain, bruising and swelling around the wounds. Some patients notice that they feel sick, or vomit, after eating more than their new stomach can hold.

To avoid this, chew your food well and east small portions while sticking to the gastric sleeve diet plan.

Possible complications for any operation include bleeding, pain, wound infection, or a blood clot. For the sleeve gastrectomy, complications can also include:

  • Stomach scarring which creates bowel blockage
  • Injury to the adjacent organs
  • Staple line leakage and serious infection
  • Inflamed stomach lining, stomach ulcers, or heartburn

Your provider will discuss all of this with you before your surgery.

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