Sleeve Gastrectomy

Last updated date: 06-Nov-2023

Originally Written in English

Sleeve Gastrectomy 

Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is weight-loss surgery. The procedure is done laparoscopically, which entails putting small devices via several tiny incisions made on the upper abdomen. Approximately 80 percent of the stomach is taken out in a sleeve gastrectomy. Hence, a tubal-shaped stomach (nearly the shape and size of a banana) remains behind. 

Reduction of the stomach size generally limits the amount of food you can eat. Furthermore, the procedure causes hormonal changes that aid in weight loss. These hormonal shifts also help treat conditions related to obesity, including heart disease and high blood pressure. 


What Does Sleeve Gastrectomy Involve?

The sleeve gastrectomy is typically a limiting procedure. It significantly reduces the stomach size, including the amount of food consumed at a time. However, it doesn’t limit nutrient absorption or bypasses the intestines. Instead, you will get full rapidly after consuming a small amount of food and continue feeling full for many hours.

A reduction in appetite may as well result from sleeve gastrectomy. Besides reducing stomach size, sleeve gastrectomy can also restrict the "hunger hormone" production level in the stomach. This might add to weight loss results following the procedure.


Reasons for Sleeve Gastrectomy 

Sleeve gastrectomy is performed to assist people in cutting excess weight and lowering their risk of potentially fatal health conditions associated with weight. Examples of these health problems are;

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Cancer

In most cases, medical providers recommend sleeve gastrectomy only if you have attempted to lose weight through improved diet and exercising.

Generally, sleeve gastrectomy surgery might be an alternative for you if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (extreme overweight or obesity).
  • You have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 (obese) and a severe medical condition related to weight. At times, if you have a BMI of 30 to 34 and serious weight-related medical problems, you might be eligible for some weight-loss surgical interventions. 

You should be willing and ready to make long-term changes in order to live a much healthy lifestyle. Long-term routine follow-ups such as watching over your nutrition, behavior, lifestyle, and health problems may be necessary. 


Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy 

The general benefits of undergoing gastrectomy include:

  • Reduced stomach size and an increased feeling of fullness
  • There is no need to disconnect or reconnect the intestines.
  • The stomach works normally, facilitating a lot of foods consumption in smaller quantities.
  • It is less invasive compared to gastric bypass surgery.
  • Involves surgically removing the gland producing ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
  • There are no foreign bodies such as bands or tubes that permanently remain in the body.
  • There is no possibility of "dumping syndrome," which is commonly linked to gastric bypass surgery.


How to Prepare for Sleeve Gastrectomy?

In case you are considering sleeve gastrectomy, you might require additional tests to ensure that the procedure is the best option for you. 

You need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for this surgical procedure. You must also demonstrate that you have attempted other weight-loss methods, such as exercise, diet, and weight-loss drugs, with no success. The BMI and if you have any weight-related medical conditions are also qualifying factors. 

In a few weeks or days before undergoing surgery, your medical provider will inform you of any modifications you should make regarding medications and diet. You may need to begin a physical activity program or quit using tobacco. In addition, you must not eat and drink anything the night prior to your surgery.


What to Expect during Sleeve Gastrectomy?

sleeve gastrectomy laparoscopic

The sleeve gastrectomy laparoscopic specifics are determined by your condition as well as the policies of the clinic or surgeon. Other sleeve gastrectomy procedures are performed through conventional large or open abdominal incisions. 

Sleeve gastrectomy, on the other hand, is normally done laparoscopically. This includes inserting tiny surgical tools through various minor cuts in the upper abdomen. Before the procedure begins, you will first receive general anesthesia. This anesthetic medication will make you unconscious and at ease during the surgery. 

After that, the surgeon makes a thin sleeve by vertically stapling the stomach and taking out the large curved section of the stomach. 

The entire operation normally takes between one and two hours. You will wake up in the recovery room following surgery. The healthcare team will also watch over you and check for any complications.


What Happens After Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Once you undergo a sleeve gastrectomy surgery, your diet will consist of sugar-free, noncarbonated fluids during the first seven days. After that, you will change to pureed foods for at least three weeks and lastly progress to regular foods in four weeks following surgery. 

Also, for the rest of your life, you'll have to take a calcium supplement once a day, a multivitamin twice a day, and a vitamin B-12 injection every month.  

During the first few months of surgery, you will undergo routine health checkups and follow-ups to monitor your condition. You might as well require blood work, laboratory testing, and a variety of examinations. 

For about three to six months following sleeve gastrectomy, you may notice the following changes as the body adjusts to the quick weight loss:

  • Tiredness, as if you have the flu
  • Body ache 
  • Feeling cold
  • Skin dryness
  • Hair loss and thinning
  • Mood swings


Sleeve Gastrectomy Results 

Sleeve Gastrectomy Results 

Permanent loss of weight is achievable with a sleeve gastrectomy. The amount of weight you cut is determined by your lifestyle changes. In about two years, you can lose up to 60 percent of your excess weight, if not more.

Apart from weight loss, sleeve gastrectomy can help improve or address various conditions associated with obesity. For instance, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, obstructive sleep apnea, etc. 

In addition, a sleeve gastrectomy procedure can help you perform regular everyday activities better and enhance your overall quality of life. 

It is likely that you will not lose much weight or that you will gain weight even after having sleeve gastrectomy surgery. If you fail to make the necessary lifestyle changes, you may regain your weight. On the other hand, if you often snack on high-calorie foods, you may experience insufficient weight loss. 

To avoid gaining weight after surgery, you need to make long-term healthy dietary changes as well as engage in routine exercise and physical activity. It is also critical that you attend all scheduled checkup appointments following your surgery for the doctor to keep track of your advancement. Consult your doctor right away if you fail to lose weight or if you develop any complications afterwards. 


Risks and Complications of Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is generally regarded as a relatively risk-free procedure. But as with any major surgical procedure, there are a few sleeve gastrectomy complications and risks such as:

  • Hemorrhage: When the bleeding that occurs from the surgical wound or in the body is severe, it can cause shock.
  • Deep vein thrombosis: Sleeve gastrectomy procedure and the recovery period can increase the chances of a blood clot formation in a vein, most commonly in the leg vein.
  • Pulmonary embolism: This can occur if a piece of a blood clot breaks off and moves to the lungs.
  • Irregular heart rhythm: An irregular heart pulse, particularly atrial fibrillation, can worsen due to surgery.
  • Pneumonia: Because of the pain, you may take shallow breaths, which could result in infection of the lung, such as pneumonia.

More complications may arise from sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Some of the potential side effects associated with this surgery are:

  • Leaks from the stomach: Stomach fluids may sometimes leak from the stitch line sewn back together in the stomach.
  • Stenosis: A portion of the gastric sleeve may close, resulting in a stomach obstruction.
  • Vitamin deficiencies: Sometimes, the part of the stomach taken out partially play a role in the body's absorption of vitamins. This can result in vitamin deficiencies if you don’t take the supplements.
  • Indigestion (GERD): Heartburn can be caused or exacerbated due to reshaping of the stomach. Doctors usually recommend over-the-counter drugs to treat this condition.

However, you should note that altering your diet and workout habits is critical in losing and keeping the weight off following sleeve gastrectomy surgery. It is likely to regain weight if you do the following:

  • Eat excessively
  • Consume an unhealthy diet
  • Insufficient exercise or physical activity



Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is one of the various forms of bariatric surgical procedures available. It works by shrinking your stomach and making you consume less food. Since the size of your stomach is reduced, you will feel less hungry. 

If you stick to a healthy diet and workout routine following sleeve gastrectomy surgery, you might cut more than half of your weight in as little as two years. Nevertheless, as with other surgeries, there is a risk of complications and side effects. So if you're considering the, consult with your doctor to see if you qualify and if it's a safe choice for you.