Stomach Sleeve Surgery: How it Works

Posted by Jason Radecke on Tue, Oct 14, 2014

If you’re considering stomach sleeve surgery, also known as gastric sleeve surgery, you should know all about this life-changing procedure and how it works. Chat with your surgeon and learn about the pre- and post-operative guidelines and adjustments, so that you can come to an informed decision when choosing the right bariatric option for you. Read on about stomach sleeve surgery to familiarize yourself with how it works, the benefits, and if you would be a good fit for this procedure.

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

The gastric sleeve procedure, also sometimes called vertical sleeve gastrectomy, removes 85 percent of the stomach. This is typically done by making several small incisions (laparoscopic). The stomach is transformed into a long tube or a “sleeve.” The new stomach can hold between 90 and 120 milliliters, and can hold one to three ounces of food before the person is full or satisfied.

The surgery usually lasts about one hour, with a two to three day hospital stay. Recovery time is about two to four weeks.  


The purpose of the gastric sleeve procedure is to essentially make the stomach smaller and help people lose weight. The surgery is used as a tool that will allow them to feel full more quickly than they’re used to. Since you eat less food, your body will stop storing excess calories and start using fat supply for energy. However, this means that life-long dietary changes must be made in order to be successful at losing weight with the sleeve gastrectomy. Smaller portion sizes, healthy meals and slower eating are just some dietary adjustments that need to become part of your everyday life.

These changes provide many benefits to your health, your mind and your body. With the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, most patients see 60 to 70 percent of excess weight gone within two years of surgery. Weight loss success with sleeve surgery is also often maintained long-term, especially if patients keep appointments with their dietician or medical team, follow their recommended dietary guidelines, and are regularly physically active. There is significant reduction in many obesity-related health issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea.

Unlike gastric bypass, the gastrointestinal tract isn’t altered. This means that there is no dumping syndrome during the recovery process, and the risks of nutritional deficiencies are minimal. Along with the outer portion of the stomach, the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, is removed as well.  When Ghrelin levels are reduced, the desire to eat is significantly decreased. The risks of many long-term side effects and complications with the sleeve gastrectomy are greatly diminished, as opposed to the gastric bypass procedure. Even though weight loss is seen at a slower rate than gastric bypass, it is often a popular alternative do to faster recovery time.

Are You a Candidate for Gastric Sleeve?

Weight loss surgery is suitable for many different people, but generally those who have not been able to lose weight with diet, exercise or medicine alone. It’s important to remember that the surgery is a tool to help you lose weight. It won’t instantly fix your weight problem. It requires discipline and lifestyle changes that will ultimately result in a healthy, successful weight loss outcome.

A sleeve gastrectomy is performed for many reasons. For people who are extremely obese or have some health problems that restrict them from the gastric bypass procedure, gastric sleeve surgery is oftentimes a go-to option. The surgery can also be part of a two-step weight loss plan. This involves an initial gastric sleeve surgery as step one. Once significant weight loss is achieved, the second step of the process, typically a duodenal switch procedure, can result in even further weight loss.

Once you and your surgeon determine that you qualify for bariatric surgery, you will decide together which surgery is right for your specific needs. Candidates for this surgery typically have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40. This translates to about 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds overweight for women. A sleeve gastrectomy may also be an option for people with a BMI between 35 and 40 if they suffer from chronic or life-threatening complications related to obesity.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery as a weight loss solution, get all of your questions answered. Find the one that fits the needs of your goals and aspirations. Attend a free webinar session with Riverside Surgical to get started and see if bariatric surgery is right for you.


Tags: What is Lap-Sleeve Surgery

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