Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Sleeve Gastrectomy

The minimally invasive gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is rapidly gaining popularity among doctors. This procedure generates weight loss by removing a portion of the stomach, decreasing its size by 75% to 80%. The remaining stomach takes on a tube or sleeve like shape. This limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. The Sleeve Gastrectomy is a non-reversible surgery.

Even though gastric sleeve surgery significantly reduces the size of the stomach, it still allows the stomach to function normally. Most food items can be consumed, but in smaller amounts. Research has even shown that a hormone which induces hunger, and is secreted by the part of the stomach which is cut away, will be produced less and appetite will be decreased. For these reasons, many surgeons and patients feel the Sleeve Gastrectomy is a superior surgery. The weight loss from this procedure is similar to gastric bypass surgery (and much greater than gastric banding or lap band surgery).

Our surgeons at WellStar Medical Group General Surgery & Bariatrics will work to ensure that you are properly qualified for surgery and have support throughout your weight loss journey.

Who are candidates for sleeve gastrectomy?
Same as other procedures: BMI of more than 35

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy has rapidly gained popularity among bariatric surgeons and patients due to very favorable weight-loss, low complication rate and less complexity compared to gastric bypass surgery. Nutritional supplements are not needed to the extent typical for gastric bypass surgery. Most patients report significant decrease in hunger despite only eating a small amount of food.

The Surgery

This surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 1 to 2 hours. Since this surgery is laparoscopic, the surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen instead of one big incision, and insert a special camera and the surgical instruments that will remove part of your stomach. This leaves behind a small, tube-shaped pouch that only holds 3-4 ounces.

Advantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery:

Less invasive than gastric bypass surgery
No rerouting of the intestines
Stomach empties normally into the small intestine
Does not require an implanted device that is utilized with gastric banding surgery
May be better for patients with prior surgery or certain medical conditions
Fewer complications and malabsorption issues
Little risk of “dumping syndrome”
Nutritional supplementation is not as great as with gastric bypass surgery
Rapid weight loss within a year. Weight loss greater than gastric banding surgery
Weight loss similar to gastric bypass surgery
Can be converted later to gastric bypass if desired.

Risks associated with Sleeve Gastrectomy:

Leakage of the sleeve (stomach) leading to infection
The stomach can stretch and weight may be regained over time
Need for additional weight loss surgery
Blood clots (in legs or clots going to lung)
Anesthesia complications

All three surgeries are considered “major surgery”


Stopping smoking has shown to significantly decrease complications and reduce chances of leaks. You are encouraged to begin a healthy diet consisting of smaller, more frequent meals in the weeks leading up to your operation. You should incorporate healthier foods into your diet and exercise more. Doing so will help you launch your healthier lifestyle and possibly lose weight prior to your bariatric surgery, as well as reduce risks and enhance surgical outcomes.

Our surgeons will determine what pre-surgery steps are appropriate for you. TheWellStar Medical Group General Surgery & Bariatrics team will review all preoperative instructions with you to ensure you are in the best condition possible for your surgery.


Most patients will be hospitalized for only 1 to 2 days following bariatric surgery. You will be prescribed pain medication to make you more comfortable. While exercise and heavy lifting are not permitted right after gastric sleeve surgery, walking is encouraged to prevent blood clots. Many patients can go back to work after only one week. A full recovery can take up to 3 weeks.

In the first 24 hours you can only drink water to make certain you have no problem consuming or retaining fluids. You will adhere to a liquid diet including special protein shakes in the two weeks after surgery, followed by two weeks of pureed food before being reintroduced to solid foods. You will be provided with a post-surgery nutrition plan, complete with a vitamin and mineral regimen that should be followed to prevent malnutrition. Our registered dietitians will explain this in great detail before your surgery and again before your discharge.

Our Bariatric Surgical Team at WellStar Medical Group General Surgery & Bariatrics are here to assist you along the way, providing encouragement and answering your questions.