Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is the most common weight loss surgery performed. Read on to learn what is involved, how it works, and if it’s right for you.

To learn more about how weight-loss surgery can help you, book an appointment with Dr. Blake Movitz at the Detroit Weight Loss Center in Southfield, MI.

What is Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is the most common type of metabolic and bariatric surgery used to help someone lose weight. It is also called gastric sleeve surgery or vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

This type of weight loss surgery is usually performed as a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon will use small (laparoscopic) instruments to operate through multiple small incisions in the upper abdomen.

During laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon removes around 80% of the stomach. The remaining piece of the stomach will resemble the size and shape of a banana.

How Does a Gastric Sleeve Help You Lose Weight?

Reducing the size of your stomach with a gastric sleeve will also reduce the capacity of food that your stomach can hold at one time. This will help you feel fuller faster and thus help you reduce the amount of food you consume.

It will also limit the hunger hormones your stomach can produce. This will help you to curb your appetite. In addition, these hormone changes may help improve associated conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery Safe?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a safe surgery with lower complication rates than other common surgeries, such as gallbladder removal and hip replacements. The risk of surgery is also lower than the health complications that arise with excess weight.

As gastric sleeve is normally performed as a laparoscopic surgery, there is less pain, lower risk of complications, and faster recovery than open surgical procedures.

Who is a Candidate for Sleeve Gastrectomy?

You may be a good candidate for sleeve gastrectomy surgery if:

  • Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more
  • Individuals with a BMI of 30-34.9 and weight-related medical problems

If you decide to undergo this kind of bariatric surgery, you must be prepared to make lifestyle changes to live healthier.

Preparing for Sleeve Gastrectomy

Weight loss prior to sleeve gastrectomy is recommended. You may be placed on a liquid diet before your bariatric surgery. This will help reduce the fat around your abdomen and liver, making surgery safer.

You will receive detailed instructions related to preparation for the day of surgery.  

The Gastric Sleeve Surgery Procedure

Gastric sleeve surgery is usually performed as a minimally invasive procedure. However, in some cases, open surgery is the preferred method. Your surgeon will likely follow these steps during surgery:

  1. You will first be given general anesthesia so that you’ll be asleep through the entire procedure.
  2. Your surgeon will begin by making a small incision into your abdomen and inserting a port. They will then fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide to create space for the procedure.
  3. Next, a camera (laparoscope) is inserted for the surgeon to see inside the abdomen.
  4. Through an additional three to four small incisions, your surgeon will insert tools to complete the procedure.
  5. After measuring the gastric sleeve, he will staple along the stomach vertically, dividing the portion they want to leave.
  6. Your surgeon will then remove the other part of the stomach and close your incisions.

After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

You will need to adjust your diet after your surgery in the following ways:

  • Week 1: Full liquid diet. You should limit your diet to sugar-free, noncarbonated liquids that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat.
  • Week 2: You are allowed to move on to pureed foods
  • Week 3 to 6: You are allowed to move on to soft foods
  • After 6 weeks: You may return to eating regular solid foods.

In addition, you will receive detailed instructions to take multivitamin supplements that will be followed closely and required lifelong after surgery.

You’ll have frequent medical checkups to monitor your health in the first several months after weight-loss surgery. You may need laboratory testing, bloodwork, and various exams.

Recovery from Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Pain is usually mild. You will be instructed to begin light cardiovascular exercise as soon as you return home.  

What Are the Expected Results of Sleeve Gastrectomy?

On average, patients lose around 25 to 30% of their body weight in the first one to two years after having a sleeve gastrectomy. There is a potential of regaining weight. This is often associated with poor snacking and eating habits, unhealthy ways of managing mental health, suboptimal exercise, and sleep.

Dr. Movitz and the team at Detroit Weight Loss Center can provide the assistance you need to maintain long-term weight loss.

In some cases, people need help losing more weight.  Your surgeon may consider other treatments such as medications or conversion to another type of weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery or duodenal switch.

What Are the Expected Risks of Sleeve Gastrectomy?

The following risks are associated with sleeve gastrectomy:

  • Leak — A postoperative gastric leak is a rare but serious complication of sleeve gastrectomy, occurring in less than 0.5%.
  • Bleeding — Postoperative bleeding occurs in less than 1% of sleeve gastrectomy surgeries.
  • Stricture — A stricture, or narrowing, of the stomach is a rare problem that can mimic acid reflux symptoms, and cause vomiting, bloating, and pain. 
  • GERD — New-onset gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or worsening of pre-existing GERD is a potential issue after sleeve gastrectomy. This can occur in approximately 20% of patients. In most cases, effective treatment can be achieved with antacid medications. However, in rare cases, patients may benefit from additional surgery.

Book Your Bariatric Surgery Consultation Today

Sleeve gastrectomy is just one of the bariatric procedures that Dr. Movitz offers at the Detroit Weight Loss Center in Southfield, Michigan. Book an appointment now to see how he can help you with your weight loss concerns.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Blake Movitz, MD,  FACS

Dr. Blake Movitz

Dr. Blake Movitz

Fellowship trained from the Mayo Clinic in Minimally Invasive Advanced GI Surgery, Complex Endoscopy and Bariatric Surgery.