The gastric sleeve is performed laparoscopically by making a few small incisions on the abdomen to allow access to the stomach. A portion of the stomach is removed, decreasing the capacity (size) of the stomach and altering the hormones that affect hunger.
Following gastric sleeve surgery, patients can expect to lose an average of 50-60% of their excess weight. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, success rates with bariatric treatment are high. However, it is imperative for participants that elect to have a surgical weight loss intervention to realize upfront that surgery is not a “quick fix.” Still, it is a tool for success, just like diet, exercise, and follow-ups with their healthcare team members. To have successful outcomes, patients should expect to commit to a lifetime of managing not only their weight but overall health.
As with any surgical procedure, risks are involved, including but not limited to: the risk of bleeding, reactions to anesthesia, blood clots, and infection, as well as a risk of leaking from the staple sites along the stomach. Long-term risks associated with sleeve gastrectomy are developing gallstones, gastroesophageal reflux disease (reflux/heartburn), and nutritional deficiencies.
Before deciding on bariatric surgery, individuals will need to consider the lifelong commitment to a healthy diet, exercise, and behavior habits.