What’s Up Your Sleeve?: What To Expect From Gastric Sleeve Surgery.

A few years ago when I was in high school, I heard that one of my favorite singers had undergone bariatric surgery. Upon further research, I found that they underwent a gastric sleeve surgery that “reduces the stomach.”

This shocked me as I wondered what the procedure was and how difficult it must be to have food after that- what about their appetite? I would ponder. Well, if you are in a similar place to me- here’s your answer.  

Gastric sleeve surgery, a bariatric surgery known as sleeve gastrectomy, induces weight loss. The surgery is effective through a reduced size of the stomach. The surgery is prevalent in the country, with at least 150,000 people undergoing it yearly.

From Mariah Carey to Randy Jackson, celebrities have been vocal about undergoing bariatric surgery. The following article will explore the different aspects of this surgery and highlight how you can control weight fluctuation.

What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery

A type of bariatric surgery, undergoing sleeve surgery, implies that you are at immediate risk of complications from your health. The stomach size is reduced in this surgery, restricting the amount of food consumed.

Additionally, around the world, the surgery is performed for at least twice the number of people in the US annually- that’s 300,000-odd surgeries! The surgery is helpful for people who have tried other ways of losing weight but to no avail.

Around 80% of the stomach is removed in this surgery, leaving behind a “sleeve” of the tubular stomach resembling a banana.

The surgery works by reducing the size of the stomach and decreasing the space. It leads to a reduced appetite through curbed cravings that help control the impulses. This is helpful in preventing the resurgence of excess weight.

Off topic If you want to become a cardiologist then this article is for you.

Gastric Sleeve Requirements  

The main requirements of undergoing this surgery include the following factors:

  • Obesity and related conditions
  • Severe medical conditions related to obesity also qualify a person for this surgery
  • If you have a chronic medical disease such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or osteoarthritis,
  • Body mass index is 40 or above
  • No set weight qualifies a person for this surgery
  • Attempts to lose weight through other traditional methods were unsuccessful

The Gastric Sleeve Pre Op Diet Includes-   

It would help to start the pre-operative diet two weeks before the surgery. It should include protein, healthy fats, and water. The leading eliminated food group during this period is carbohydrates. The best protein sources during this time are eggs, salmon, chicken, and lean meats such as lean ground beef.

In addition, the healthy fats permitted in this diet are wild fish, avocados, etc. The main exclusions in this diet are trans fats, butter, and oils. Moreover, staying hydrated will let you maintain a good balance. It is essential to avoid soft drinks or alcoholic beverages during this time.

This includes discontinuing a few medications that you may have been under. This depends on the doctor’s orders and can change as per their consideration.

Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time

Gastric Sleeve Recovery Time

The recovery time for individuals differs as it is a different factor. The recovery time will require you to be careful about your diet and activity. Doctors suggest taking time off work after the surgery so that you can fully recover.

Generally, the recovery time is between four to six weeks. In addition, some restrictions have to be followed so that the recovery is successful. The usual time at the hospital after the surgery is two to three days, after which they are discharged.

This can change depending on the patient’s overall health and if the healthcare practitioner deems it necessary.

If you feel the procedure is too much for you, you can opt for a mini gastric sleeve surgery. Also known as mini-gastric bypass or MGB, it is a safe, reversible, and rapid bariatric procedure.

Difference between gastric sleeve and MGB:

Gastric SleeveMini Gastric Sleeve
Greatly invasive procedure, creates incisions in the abdominal wallSurgery through natural entrances to the abdominal cavity
75-80% of the stomach is removed during the procedure50-70% of the stomach is reduced during the procedure
Recovery can take one to one-and-a-half monthsQuicker recovery time (less than a month)

Steps Of Sleeve Surgery

Steps Of Sleeve Surgery

The steps for a sleeve surgery include a thorough health screening that provides information on the patient’s eligibility. The patient must be qualified to undergo the surgery as it is necessary for the health and safety of the patient.

The next step involves following a two-week liquid diet per the surgeon’s instructions.

The diet may change depending on the surgeon and the patient’s health.

Next, the patient is asked to stay on a 12-hour fast, where they do not eat or drink anything, as it could cause unpleasant side effects during surgery, which could be dangerous.

The surgery is usually performed through laparoscopic or robotic surgery. The basic steps include:

  • Making an incision on the abdomen that allows access to the organs
  • The operation is performed through small incisions
  • This supports recovery
  • Open surgery may also be an option, depending on the patient’s condition.

If there are problems with the heart of any person. in such cases, heart surgery is done. read How to do Open Heart Surgery – Procedure

Advantages Of Gastric Sleeve Surgery  

  • The scientific methods of weight loss that follow this procedure support losing excess weight through hormonal changes.
  • These hormonal alterations aid in managing related conditions such as high blood pressure.
  • Another advantage of this surgery is an improved quality of life and a decreased tendency to develop health conditions. This also includes weighing less for a prolonged period.
  • Evidence shows that the surgery can lower the chances of developing chronic conditions such as breast cancer.
  • Lower chances of long-term nutritional complications, as the surgery does not rearrange the intestines. A study published in 2021 provided evidence of the same.

Side Effects Of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Side Effects Of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Side effects for all activities or products exist. The key is to weigh the extent of harm that may be caused to the individual exposed to them. The following list highlights the possible side effects that may be experienced by people undergoing the surgery:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Leakage through the staple line
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Long-term complications post-operation such as scar tissue, gastroesophageal reflux or GERD, and gallstones

Precautions Before The Surgery   

  • It is vital that a proper diet is followed before the procedure as per the doctor’s advice. This is because diligently following the advice supports smooth surgery and speedy recovery.
  • It is crucial to start a physical activity program (if advised by the physician).
  • Doctors also recommend that you stop using tobacco or any alcoholic substance.
  • Physical activity can be arranged at the patient’s convenience under the practitioner’s guidance.
  • Following the physician’s orders on the medications and dietary restrictions is imperative.
  • Do not self-medicate or change your diet depending on advice from others or the internet.


This was all about gastric sleeve surgery and the various aspects that may confuse the procedure. The surgery is a safe and effective way for individuals to care for their health and prevent any complications related to chronic conditions such as obesity.

The procedure is only done for qualified individuals, such as those who have tried dietary and physical options to improve their condition.

The article also highlighted a few essential details, such as the steps of the surgery and necessary pre- and post-op precautions.


How Much Weight Can Be Lost With The Surgery?   

The weight loss through the surgery depends on the different factors that may be putting you in harm’s way. Generally, in the first two years, weight loss is expected to be 25% to 30% of the body weight.

The lifestyle habits after surgery determine the amount of weight lost. However, 25-30% weight loss is consistent for the first five years after surgery.

What If The Surgery Does Not Work?   

The surgery is a remedy for those who have tried other weight loss methods but have not been able to maintain the lost weight. Similarly, it is common for patients to regain weight, requiring revision surgery.

The surgeon may repair the original surgery or convert it to a stronger result-providing one, such as a duodenal switch.

How Long Does It Last?

The surgery lasts for a lifetime. However, the surgeon cannot reverse the surgery.

Is The Procedure Safe?   

The procedure is usually safe. However, there are risks of side effects. These depend on the precautions maintained before and after the surgery. The surgeon will discuss this with you before the surgery. This is so you can decide if it is for you.

How Effective Is Sleeve Surgery?

The surgery is effective as nearly 60-70% of excess weight loss is possible within a year of the procedure.

What To Expect After The Surgery?

After the procedure ends, your diet will continue with sugar-less, non-carbonated liquids for the first week (seven days). The next three weeks will allow you to have pureed food while gradually switching to regular food within four weeks of the surgery.

Your diet will also include a multivitamin to support your recovery and proper nutritional intake. Along with calcium supplements and vitamin B-12 injection once a month.

Why Are Multivitamins And Other Supplements Required?

Vitamin B-12, multivitamins, and calcium supplementation are to ensure deficiency post-op does not occur. The change in the stomach and small intestine after the procedure can result in disrupted absorption of B12. This can result in weakness, fatigue, sore tongue, and ulcers.

Multivitamins allow you to avoid nutrient deficiency and support the absorption of calories and nutrition from the post-op diet you will be following.

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