Gastric sleeve, also known as “Sleeve gastrectomy“, is a relatively new surgery to help with weight loss, where the surgeon removes a large portion of your stomach, approximately 75-80% of it, leaving the remaining stomach as a vertical tube structure that resembles a banana.

With a smaller stomach, you will feel full a lot quicker than you are used to. This means that you will need to make big lifelong changes in how you eat-including smaller portion sizes and different foods-in order to lose weight.

The gastric sleeve surgery can be done in 2 ways:

  • Open procedure: The surgeon makes a large incision in the abdomen
  • Laparoscopic procedure: The surgeon makes several small incisions using small instruments and a camera to guide the surgery.

Approximately 75-80% of the stomach is removed, leaving a thin vertical sleeve about the size of a banana. Surgical staples keep the new stomach closed. Because part of the stomach has been removed, this procedure is not reversible.

gastric sleeve

What does the gastric sleeve surgery do for you?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, with low complication rates. The patient will have some belly pain and may need medication for the first week or so after surgery. This procedure requires a relatively short hospital stay of approximately 4 days (1 day in intensive care and up to 3 days on the ward barring any complications).

The new stomach pouch holds considerably less than the normal stomach and helps to reduce the amount of food you can eat in one sitting comfortably. Food also moves faster in the new stomach pouch. The first weeks can be more difficult to regulate this movement of food, which dumps too quickly into the small intestine. This is known as dumping syndrome and it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weakness or nausea. To avoid these symptoms it is important to follow the diet indicated by the nutritionist.

The patient will be able to return to work or normal routine in about one month. For about the first month after surgery, the new stomach can only handle small amounts of soft foods and liquids. Bit by bit, the patient will be able to add solid foods back into the diet. It is advisable to work with a dietitian to plan a healthy diet.

Research has shown that patients who have had a gastric sleeve surgery on average lose more than half of their excess weight, up to 60% of his or her excess weight in most cases. Success is higher for people who follow the recommended diet and are physically active. In addition, this procedure to weight loss improves obesity-related health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease and sleep apnea.

Who is the gastric sleeve surgery aimed at?

Gastric sleeve surgery is suitable for people who are severely overweight and who have not been able to lose weight with diet, exercise or other treatments for obesity.

  • People that have morbid obesity (body mass index is 40 or higher).
  • People that are overweight (body mass index between 35 and 39) and have health problems that are related to the weight.
  • People that are overweight and have tried to lose weight with endoscopic surgery such as Gastric Balloon or POSE Method without satisfactory results.

IMED Hospitals Group in Spain has a prestigious specialized obesity unit with surgeons, endoscopists, psychologists, nutritionists, anesthetists, aesthetic doctors and plastic surgeons. They will guide and advise you about which would be the best procedure to treat your obesity problem. Would you like to receive more information about gastric sleeve surgery? Ask our experts here.

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