What is the Sleeve Gastrectomy? A Common Weight Reduction Surgery Explained
Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which around 75% of the stomach is removed, leaving a smaller, banana-shaped “sleeve” or tube as the remaining usable portion of the stomach. During the incision, the greater curvature of the stomach is excised and the stomach is stapled vertically to create this new, much smaller stomach pouch. The pyloric valve at the bottom of the stomach is left intact so that food can still move from the new sleeve-shaped stomach into the small intestine to be digested and absorbed as normal. The dramatic reduction in stomach size after a sleeve gastrectomy means patients feel full and satisfied with much smaller portions of food, leading to significant long-term weight loss.
How Long Does a Gastric Sleeve Last For?
Over the long term, a gastric sleeve surgery can provide effective weight loss results for 8-10 years or more. However, keeping the weight off still requires significant lifestyle changes. Patients must adopt healthy eating habits focused on smaller portions and nutritious, low-calorie foods. Getting regular exercise is also essential. Some sleeve patients may experience weight regain 5+ years after incision if they resume poor dietary habits. But for patients who make permanent healthy lifestyle adjustments, the gastric sleeve provides lasting weight reduction by restricting stomach capacity for the long term. While the stomach may stretch slightly over time, the significant reduction in size from the incision remains intact, allowing for sustained weight control.
How Painful is Gastric Sleeve incision?
Gastric sleeve incision is considered one of the less invasive forms of bariatric incision. Still, patients will experience some degree of pain and discomfort as their body heals from the operation. Most patients report the initial pain immediately after incision as moderate to severe, rating it between a 5-8 on a scale of 1-10. This acute pain typically lasts for 24-48 hours and is managed with IV pain medications. As the pain decreases over the first week, patients transition to oral pain relief medications. After the first 1-2 weeks, the pain from gastric sleeve incision subsides significantly and is typically described as mild to moderate soreness, dull aches, or sensitivity around the incision site.
This can last for 4-6 weeks as the post-operative swelling goes down and wounds continue healing on the inside. Following diet restrictions can also cause temporary discomfort. While everyone has a slightly different pain experience, most sleeve patients see the worst pain tapering off within a month. Using pain medications as needed, increasing activity slowly, and following doctor’s directions can keep recovery as smooth and comfortable as possible after undergoing sleeve incision. Managing pain and recovery time is an important part of setting realistic expectations before the operation.
How Serious is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve incision is considered a major operation and does carry serious risks, like all invasive weight loss procedures. As with any major abdominal incision, sleeve gastrectomy poses risks during and after the operation, such as infection, blood clots, leaks from the surgical site, nausea and vomiting, postoperative bleeding, and even the risk of death in very rare cases. The seriousness and invasiveness of the incision should not be underestimated.
However, the gastric sleeve is also considered one of the safest and least invasive forms of bariatric incision compared to procedures like gastric bypass or duodenal switch incision. For most sleeve patients, the benefits of significant long-term weight loss outweigh the short-term risks involved. The decision to undergo sleeve gastrectomy is a serious personal choice that requires understanding the permanent anatomical changes to your digestive system as well as the potential complications. Working closely with a qualified bariatric team and following pre- and post-op guidelines can help minimize risks. Monitoring your health in the months and years after incision is also essential to ensure any complications are caught early.
Does Your Stomach Grow Back After Gastric Sleeve?
Because the remaining stomach is still a living organ with some ability to expand over time, many patients wonder if the pouch will stretch back out eventually. In the first 1-2 years following incision, the sleeve pouch typically stays close to its original size, aided by swelling and inflammation that limits initial expansion. However, some gradual stretching can occur around 3-5 years post-op as that inflammation resolves. The body adapts to accommodate the smaller stomach capacity. While the pouch does not return to pre-incision proportions, this expansion lets patients consume slightly larger meals. For some, this contributes to weight regain if unhealthy eating patterns also return. The good news is sticking to the recommended diet of small, nutritious meals high in protein can prevent over-stretching. This requires diligence several years post-op as the stomach continues adapting.
If you are considering weight loss incision and want to learn more about the gastric sleeve procedure, contact Elite Surgical Miami to schedule a consultation with renowned bariatric specialist Surgeon. Luciano Fiszer. During your appointment, you can talk about your health history, weight loss goals, lifestyle circumstances, and any concerns to see if gastric sleeve incision is the right bariatric procedure for you. He will explain expected results, recovery times, associated risks and potential complications. The Surgeon provides compassionate yet comprehensive guidance so patients can make fully informed decisions about their treatment options. Let Elite Surgical Miami create a customized plan designed to help you successfully and safely achieve sustainable weight reduction.