The Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve Gastrectomy / Gastric Sleeve

The sleeve gastrectomy is a surgery performed solely on the stomach.  There is no rerouting of the intestines like with the gastric bypass or duodenal switch procedures.

Sleeve Gastrectomy has also been called Partial Gastrectomy, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Gastric Sleeve. It basically consists of making a stomach that looks like a pouch into a long tube; therefore the name “sleeve.” The Sleeve Gastrectomy removes two thirds of the stomach, which provides for quicker satiety (sense of fullness) and decreased appetite. The smaller stomach pouch restricts food intake by allowing only a small amount of food to be eaten at one time. After the separation of the stomach into a smaller tube, the remainder of the stomach is removed.

The valve at the outlet of the stomach remains; this provides for the normal process of stomach emptying to continue which allows for the feeling of fullness. If you eat too quickly, take large bites of food, drink fluids with meals/snacks, eat dry, tough, or sticky foods, vomiting or discomfort can occur.


  • The sleeve is created with a surgical stapler along the outside curve of the stomach.
  • The valve at the outlet of the stomach remains which allows for the normal process of stomach-emptying and the feeling of fullness.
  • After the new stomach is created, the excess stomach is removed.
  • Only the stomach organ is altered and the intestine remains intact.

The sleeve gastrectomy is typically performed in less than an hour. The majority of the outer portion of the stomach is removed leaving a small tubular stomach behind. Often, most patients feel less hungry and are less interested in carbohydrates, and patients lose weight despite usually not feeling hungry.

Common side effects early on include nausea and feeling full. If you eat too quickly or too much, you may throw up, which is defeating the purpose of the surgery. Average meal should be one cup of food, or less, over the course of a 30 minutes. Meals should be eaten five times daily, spaced roughly 3-4 hours apart.

Average weight loss depends on several factors, the most important being the compliance of the patient in regards to their diet. Other factors include the weight a patient started at, incorporating exercise and being more active, avoiding high calorie beverages, and complying with medical therapy for other ailments. Average weight loss is between 50-70% of your excess weight.*


Sleeve Gastrectomy Advantages

  • Simplest bariatric procedure
  • Lowest incidence of complications
  • Included in bariatric benefits by most insurance companies
  • Minimal risk of dumping syndrome

Sleeve Gastrectomy Recovery

  • Hospital stay is typically 24 to 48 hours
  • Many patients return to normal activity within 1 to 2 weeks
  • Heavy lifting is restricted for roughly 4 weeks

Sleeve Gastrectomy Disadvantages

  • Increased risk of reflux disease
  • Weight loss success more dependent on lifestyle changes

Sleeve Gastrectomy Risks

  • Standard surgical risks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Leaks from staple line
  • Gastric reflux
  • Mortality rate: 0.08%

*Results will vary between patients

2018, WakeMed