What To Expect From Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is done to help patients lose weight and minimize their risk of weight-related medical problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Before Surgery

Once your surgeon determines that you are a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery, you will go through a bariatric surgery education program. The program will teach you about your surgery and the diet and exercise changes you need to make to ensure the surgery's success.

Your surgeon will most likely order blood tests before your surgery, and you may undergo imaging tests of your stomach as well, such as an endoscopy.

You'll need to stop smoking before having weight loss surgery, and your doctor may ask you to try to lose some weight on your own prior to surgery to make the procedure safer. Your doctor will tell you what medications you need to stop taking before surgery.

During Surgery

You will be under general anesthesia for your gastric sleeve surgery. The procedure is done laparoscopically, which means your surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen and use a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera, to see inside.

A sizing tube is put down your throat into your stomach to help the surgeon divide your stomach into sections that are then stapled to leave a thin sleeve. Your surgeon will remove the part of the stomach that was taken out and test for leaks in the sleeve before closing the incisions.

After Surgery

Most gastric sleeve patients can go home the day after surgery. You'll be on a liquid diet for one to two weeks to give your stomach time to heal. Your surgeon will give you a meal plan for the following weeks to allow your stomach to get used to purees first, then soft foods, and finally normal foods.

Your surgeon will also advise you on what vitamins and supplements you should take since your meals will be much smaller, which makes it harder to get all the nutrients you need from your food.

Regular blood tests every few months will help your doctor make sure your iron, calcium, and vitamin D levels are in healthy ranges. The amount of weight you can lose with gastric sleeve surgery varies, but most patients lose between two and four pounds per week for the first six to 12 months after surgery.

Talk to your surgeon about any questions you have prior to your surgery and follow all post-operative instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications after the procedure.