Gastric Sleeve surgery involves removing the lateral two-thirds of the stomach with a stapling device. The procedure is done using keyhole or laparoscopic surgery. The remaining stomach is more like a tube or ‘sleeve’ than a sac. It is estimated that the remaining stomach has about a 100 to 200ml capacity. This represents a significantly reduced stomach capacity that only allows an entrée sized meal.
Gastric sleeve surgery is not reversible. It is an option for people for whom gastric bypass surgery is not an option, including those with inflammatory bowel disease and patients with a higher risk of complications, such as smokers or those on anticoagulation therapy such as Warfarin.
Gastric sleeve surgery may not be an option for people who have significant issues with hiatus hernia or a history of severe gastro oesophageal reflux disease. This is because once the gastric sleeve procedure is performed further gastric reflux surgery generally cannot be done.
As far as weight loss goes, most people who have gastric sleeve surgery have been found to lose a significant amount of their excess body weight after a couple of months after surgery. Studies have shown that after a gastric sleeve resection procedure, people show improvement in diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea within one to two years. These improvements are comparable with those seen after other weight loss surgeries.
As with all major surgical procedures, gastric sleeve surgery comes with the risk of post-operative complications such as infections, pneumonia and bleeding. As the procedure involves stapling part of the stomach, leakage is always possible. If leakage occurs, it may cause infection and other health problems. The more obese you are prior to surgery, the higher the risk of complications. However, medical statistics indicate low mortality (risk of dying).
Gastric sleeve surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and takes from one to two hours.
We anticipate your stay in the hospital for two or three days, then recovery at home for two-three weeks. Your recovery should be fast and smooth, provided that you follow the dietitian’s instructions. You should avoid any heavy lifting for four weeks to allow the wound to heal. If you have a desk job, you may return to work in one to two weeks. If your job requires heavy lifting, you should not return to work for four weeks.
You should not drive a car for 5-7 days, or fly for 10 days after discharge to avoid any liability in the event of an accident. Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (for arthritis) must be avoided. You need to let your general practitioner know that these drugs must be avoided.