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Gastric Sleeve Surgery


Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a surgical procedure performed to help people who are severely overweight (obese) lose weight by reducing the size of their stomach. The surgery involves removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a sleeve-shaped tube.


What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?


Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a type of weight loss surgery. It is a restrictive procedure that reduces the size of the stomach, creating a smaller pouch that restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. The smaller stomach size helps patients feel full more quickly and eat less, leading to weight loss.

In this procedure, a portion of the stomach is removed, leaving behind a narrow, vertical sleeve-shaped pouch. The rest of the stomach is removed and the remaining portion is attached to the small intestine, preserving the normal digestive process.

Gastric sleeve surgery is typically performed laparoscopically, which means it is done with small incisions and special instruments that are inserted through the incisions. This type of surgery is minimally invasive and often results in less pain, a faster recovery time, and fewer complications compared to traditional open surgery.

It is important to note that gastric sleeve surgery is not a cure for obesity and weight loss is achieved through lifestyle changes, including changes in eating habits and increased physical activity. Patients need to work with their healthcare team to maintain their weight loss and make long-term lifestyle changes.


Who Can Be a Suitable Candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?


Gastric sleeve surgery is typically recommended for individuals who are severely obese and have not been successful in losing weight through diet and exercise alone. The procedure is usually recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.

The decision to have gastric sleeve surgery should be made after a thorough evaluation by a surgeon and an in-depth discussion of the benefits and risks of the procedure. The ideal candidate for gastric sleeve surgery is someone who is committed to making long-term lifestyle changes, including changes in eating habits and increased physical activity, in order to maintain their weight loss.

Some medical conditions may make an individual unsuitable for gastric sleeve surgery. These conditions include active infections, uncontrolled or untreated mental health conditions, liver disease, and certain other medical conditions. A comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider is necessary to determine if gastric sleeve surgery is a safe and appropriate option.


How is Gastric Sleeve Surgery Performed?


Gastric sleeve surgery is performed as a laparoscopic procedure. The procedure typically takes one to two hours and is done under general anesthesia. The procedure is performed in several stages.

Prior to the procedure, the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation to determine their suitability for surgery. They are given instructions on how to prepare, including fasting for several hours before the procedure.

The surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen. A laparoscope (camera) and surgical instruments are inserted through these incisions. The surgeon removes part of the stomach, leaving behind a narrow, sleeve-shaped pouch that limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. The rest of the stomach is removed and the remaining part is connected to the small intestine. The incisions will be closed using dissolvable sutures or staples. A drain may be placed near the incisions to remove excess fluid.

After the procedure, the patient remains in hospital for one to two days for observation. They are given pain medication and encouraged to get up and move around as soon as possible to help prevent blood clots and promote healing.

It is important that patients follow a specific diet and exercise plan to promote weight loss and prevent complications after surgery.


What Should Be Considered After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?


Gastric sleeve surgery is a procedure that can lead to significant weight loss, but it requires a long-term commitment to lifestyle changes to be successful. There are some important considerations after undergoing sleeve gastrectomy.


  • Diet: Patients will need to follow a specific diet after the surgery to help the stomach heal and to promote weight loss. The diet will typically start with clear liquids and progress to pureed and soft foods, before eventually moving to a regular diet. It is important to eat slowly and to stop eating as soon as you feel full, as the smaller stomach size can easily become overfilled.
  • Exercise: Physical activity is an important part of maintaining weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery. Patients should aim to be active for at least 30 minutes a day and should discuss an appropriate exercise plan with their healthcare provider.
  • Follow-up Care: Regular follow-up care is important to monitor progress and ensure that the patient is on track to achieve their weight loss goals. Patients will typically meet with their healthcare provider for check-ups, lab work, and imaging studies to monitor their progress.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation: Gastric sleeve surgery can result in decreased absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, so patients may need to take supplements to ensure they are getting enough of these nutrients.


Significant weight loss can have a major impact on an individual's mental health, and patients may experience changes in body image and self-esteem. It is important for patients to have a support system in place and to discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions