GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY: Long Term Weight Loss with Fewer Risks


While not as well known as gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery, especially in Australia, gastric sleeve surgery is creating quite a buzz among doctors and formerly obese patients in many countries.

It carries fewer surgical risks and fewer post operative complications than either gastric banding or gastric bypass and can be the best choice for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) approaching 40 and who may be suffering from other debilitating medical problems that can afflict the obese, including high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, severe asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, sleep apnoea, depression and arthritis.

Could this describe you? Check your BMI here:

But gastric sleeve surgery is not a short-term solution. Unlike gastric banding, which can be reversed, gastric sleeve surgery is for keeps. Why? Because the surgeon, using a laparoscopic technique and a unique internal stapling tool, removes about 80 percent of the stomach , leaving a smaller, tubular-shaped (sleeve-like) section, which functions just as well.

Because the stomach is much smaller, it fills more quickly with much less food and you feel fuller for longer. An added bonus is that less of the ‘hunger’ hormone, ghrelin, is produced by the smaller stomach, so you don’t desire food as much.

While this all sounds wonderful, you must have a strong, permanent commitment to a restricted diet and to losing a lot of excess fat – some of it quite quickly – even though that could mean sagging skin that may need further surgical attention down the track.

On the plus side, if you are committed to following the post-surgery health guidelines, you will become slimmer, fitter, happier and no longer beset by many of the medical and psychological problems that plagued you in the past.

And you should recover well after about three days in hospital overseas and be back at work in a couple of weeks. For more details on this surgery check out:

Weighing up the benefits of gastric sleeve surgery

While different patients have differing requirements when it comes to weight loss surgery, gastric sleeve surgery has a number of advantages compared with gastric banding and gastric bypass procedures. Some of these include:

No bypassing of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine (as happens with gastric bypass), so food and nutrients are absorbed normally. There are no vitamin or protein deficiencies, which require ongoing testing and long term supplementation.

The technique used in gastric sleeve surgery is simpler than that used for gastric bypass and there’s no requirement to disconnect or reconnect the intestines (as happens with gastric bypass). This lessens the risks and the possibility of later complications.

There are no implants (e.g. bands) and there is no requirement for adjustments after surgery (as happens with gastric band surgery). Band complications can include leaking, infection, slippage and migration of the band.

Post surgery hunger is lessened, making it easier for the patient to stay on track.

The main disadvantage for some patients may be that gastric sleeve surgery is not reversible, unlike gastric band surgery. Bypass surgery is also, generally, not reversible.