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Sleeve Gastrectomy

Procedure: Sleeve Gastrectomy

How a Sleeve Gastrectomy Works

Sleeve GastrectomyA sleeve gastrectomy, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a restrictive surgical weight loss procedure that limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. During this procedure, a thin vertical sleeve of stomach is created using a stapling device, and the rest of the stomach is removed. The sleeve is about the size of a banana. It allows for normal digestion and absorption. Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the usual order, allowing it to be fully absorbed in the body.

The majority of weight loss sleeve gastrectomies performed today use a laparoscopic technique, which is considered minimally invasive. Laparoscopic surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures.

The length of time of the surgery varies. One study found that the average operative time was 1.5 to 3.5 hours and the average hospital stay was 2 to 5 days.14 Patients usually return to normal activities in 2 weeks and are fully recovered in 3 weeks.24

Click here to view a simulation of the procedure

Weight Loss Surgery Benefits

Sleeve gastrectomy can lead to significant weight loss and improved health. Some advantages to this surgery include:

  • It is performed laparoscopically (minimally invasive)
  • May be an option for carefully selected patients, including high-risk or super-super-obese patients1.
  • Mean excess weight loss at 1 year of 59%2
  • No implanted medical device

Sleeve gastrectomy patients have been shown to experience significant weight loss and improvements in their health. Patients have been shown to lose an average of 55%13 of their excess weight.

Improvements in health, quality of life, and, of course, significant weight loss are important bariatric surgery benefits. The information below provides greater detail about these benefits and will help you understand how sleeve gastrectomy can help you achieve and maintain a healthier weight.

Significant weight loss: Health benefits

Table 1: Health Improvements After Sleeve Gastrectomy. A clinical study on sleeve gastrectomy showed the following health benefits. 13

Health Problem (Comorbidity)

Result After Sleeve Gastrectomy

Resolved Improved

Type 2 Diabetes

56%36 37%36

High Blood Pressure

49%36 29%36

High Cholesterol

43%36 38%36

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

60%36 33%36

Please see for appropriate citations and references.

Quality-of-life improvements

Clinical studies of laparoscopic bariatric surgery patients found that they felt better, spent more time doing recreational and physical activities, benefited from enhanced productivity and economic opportunities, and had more self-confidence than they did prior to surgery.9

As you can see, a sleeve gastrectomy procedure may have many benefits. However, it isn’t for everyone. Only you and your surgeon can decide if bariatric surgery is an appropriate treatment option for you. Please see the education resources and links the end of this section for additional information.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery Potential Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications can occur with sleeve gastrectomy. We’re committed to providing you with the information you need to make a well-informed decision about your surgery. Although these problems rarely occur, we want you to know the facts.

Potential bariatric surgery complications following the sleeve gastrectomy:

• Abdominal hernia
• Chest pain
• Collapsed lung
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Dehydration
• Enlarged heart
• Gallstones, inflammation of the gallbladder, or surgery to remove the gallbladder
• Gastrointestinal inflammation or swelling
• Stoma obstruction
• Stretching of the stomach
• Surgical procedure repeated
• Vomiting and nausea
• Staple-line disruption, weight gain, failure to lose satisfactory weight
• Intolerance to refined sugars (dumping), with nausea, sweating, weakness
• Staple-line disruption, weight gain, failure to lose satisfactory weight

One or all of the following conditions and bariatric surgery complications are possible following all types of weight loss surgery procedures.

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have evaluated all other options

The proper approach to sleeve gastrectomy surgery requires careful consideration and discussion of the following with your doctor:

  • Weight loss surgery is not cosmetic surgery. The procedures do not involve the removal of fatty tissue by cutting or suction.
  • A decision to elect surgical treatment requires an assessment of the benefits and risks to the patient and the meticulous performance of the appropriate surgical procedure.
  • The success of weight loss surgery is dependent on long-term lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.

What can you expect following sleeve gastrectomy surgery?

  • Recovery will take time and patience
  • The diet is strict
  • You may experience discomfort and pain as your body heals.
  • Length of time to return to normal activities can vary from patient to patient.
  • The capacity of the stomach has changed.
  • Your healthcare team will advise you when to return to work,resume prior activities and schedule your follow-up appointments.
  • Find out more about Sleeve Gastrectomy with the following links.

Additional Companion Services Available to Sleeve Gastrectomy Patients A leading device manufacturer and pioneer corporation in bariatric surgery, Ethicon-Endo-Surgery, Inc. (EES) ( offers solutions to assist patients and surgeons in evaluating possible surgical options.

One website we find very helpful in evaluating weight loss procedures, providing side-by-side comparisons, and assisting in patient education on the sleeve gastrectomy procedure:

Also, please visit the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery

NOTE: Sleeve gastrectomy text, overview, risks and benefits, and other gastric sleeve patient education links provided by Ethicon-Endosurgery.

Find out more about Sleeve Gastrectomy with the following links.

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Nondiscrimination Statement:

Cahaba Valley Surgical Group, P.C. complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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