Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Benefits, Indications, Side Effects, Complications, Cost and Recovery Time.

It is a beriatric surgical procedure that involves the removal of a large portion of the stomach, leaving behind a smaller, sleeve-shaped or banana shaped stomach.

This procedure is typically performed on patients who are severely obese and have not been successful with other weight loss methods like exercise and dieting.

What is done and how gastric sleeve surgery works

During sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon removes approximately 75-85% of the stomach, creating a smaller stomach pouch.

Gastric sleeve surgery
A large part of the stomach surgically removed following a sleeve surgery

This reduces the amount of food the patient can consume, resulting in weight loss.

The procedure also affects gut hunger hormones involved in appetite regulation, leading to decreased hunger and craving for food and increased satiety.

Being aware that a large part of your stomach was removed also psychologically makes you eat less and less promoting weight loss.


Sleeve gastrectomy is indicated for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35-39.9 with obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, or sleep apnea.

It is usually recommended for patients who are not suitable candidates for other weight loss surgeries or who prefer a less invasive procedure.

Mechanism of Action:

The smaller stomach pouch from sleeve gastric surgery restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at one time, leading to a feeling of fullness with smaller portions.

Additionally, the removal of a portion of the stomach reduces the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin, helping to control appetite.

Procedure- how it is done

It is a minimally invasive procedure done under general anasthesia. During sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen and uses a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) to guide the surgical instruments.

The larger portion of the stomach is removed, leaving behind a sleeve-shaped and banana stomach.

The remaining stomach is then closed with staples or sutures as the case may be. Gastric sleeve Surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and takes about 2-3 hours or less.

Side Effects and Complications of gastric sleeve surgery

Like any surgical procedure, sleeve gastrectomy carries risks such as bleeding, infection, and blood clots. Other potential complications include leaks from the staple line, narrowing of the sleeve called sleeve stenosis, and vitamin deficiencies.

Other side effects of gastric sleeve surgery are gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD) and gallstone formation because of the rapid breakdown of fat.

Recovery Time of gastric sleeve surgery

You will disease from the hospital within 3 – 5 days after sleeve gastric surgery. You will start eating your normal diet after 2 weeks. It will take you about 4 weeks to return to your work and for your body to fully recover. In about 2 months after surgery, you will start seeing real time results of controlled but assured weight loss.

Cost of sleeve gastric surgery

Since insurance companies put stringent criterion for weight loss surgeries like gastric sleeve, patients most times pay out of their pocket. The average total cost of gastric sleeve is about $15,000 – $20,000. There are some hardworking insurance companies that will cover these sleeve gastrectomy and pay up about 70 -80 percent of the surgery fees which makes it easier for you

Before and after pictures of sleeve gastric surgery

The results of sleeve gastrectomy are abound if your need some evidence to know if it works.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Before and after picture of sleeve gastrectomy

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is sleeve gastrectomy reversible? No, sleeve gastrectomy is not reversible. The removed portion of the stomach cannot be reattached.

2. Is sleeve gastric surgery same as bypass surgery?

No. They are different. While gastric bypass surgery reshapes the stomach and reroutes food through the digestive system, gastric sleeve only reshapes the stomach. Gastric bypass surgery is more invasive and requires longer hospital stay and recovery time. The late footballs legend, Diego Maradona underwent gastrc bypass and not sleeve gastrectomy.

3. How much weight can I expect to lose after sleeve gastrectomy? Weight loss varies from person to person, but on average, patients can expect to lose 50-70% of their excess body weight within the first year after surgery.

4. Will I need to make dietary changes after sleeve gastrectomy? Yes, dietary changes are necessary after sleeve gastrectomy. Patients will need to follow a strict diet plan, including consuming smaller portions and avoiding certain foods that may cause discomfort or dumping syndrome.

5. Will I need to take supplements after sleeve gastrectomy? Yes, patients will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements after sleeve gastrectomy to prevent deficiencies. This may include supplements for iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and others as recommended by the healthcare provider.

6. Is the weight loss in sleeve surgery permanent? Are the results permanent?

Yes. But if you to your unhealthy eating habits and premorbid lifestyle again, the significant reduced size of the stomach can dilate and become big again making you eat more. Sleeve gastrectomy gives a better result when combined with exercise.


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