Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Dr. Jason F. Moy
Dr. Brian T. Chin
Daniel Roman
July 20, 2021
Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Deciding to have gastric sleeve surgery should not be taken lightly. Like many other surgeries, there are risks associated with surgeries to lose weight. If you’re considering getting a gastric sleeve, here are some frequently asked questions to help you get started. 

What is gastric sleeve surgery?

Patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve surgery, have 75% of their stomachs removed via a laparoscopic procedure. The stomach that remains looks like a tube or shirt sleeve, which is where the term “gastric sleeve” name comes from. Reducing the size of the stomach causes patients to produce less of the hormone that causes hunger pangs. It also makes them feel full after consuming smaller meals. These twofold results aid in the success of gastric sleeve surgery. 

Can gastric sleeve surgery cure my chronic illness?

The rapid weight loss that occurs with gastric sleeve surgeries can cure or reverse many chronic illnesses including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more. In cases where these conditions are not cured, the severity of the disease is often reduced. 

How long will the surgery take?

Gastric sleeve surgery can take between one and two hours to complete. 

What size will the incision/scar be?

Most patients can expect five or six small incisions across their abdomen. This is where the laparoscopic surgical instruments were inserted during surgery. 

When can I go home after surgery?

Barring any complications, most patients will spend one or two nights in the hospital following gastric sleeve surgery. Patients who experience complications may need to spend more time in the hospital. 

What are the possible complications of gastric sleeve surgery?

Complications from gastric sleeve surgery may include excessive bleeding, infection, blood clots, and leaks from the cut edge of the stomach.

What can I eat while I’m healing?

Following surgery, patients are on a very restrictive diet. The first seven days are most restrictive, with patients being limited to sugar-free liquids. These liquids should not be carbonated. Puréed foods can be consumed for the three weeks following the strict liquid diet. After these four weeks, patients can expect to resume eating regular foods.

To help maintain healthy nutrient levels, patients are encouraged to take multivitamins twice each day and a calcium supplement once a day. Gastric sleeve patients will also need to receive vitamin B-12 injections each month for the rest of their lives. 

When should I expect to begin losing weight?

Weight loss begins immediately since the size of the stomach has been reduced suddenly. Patients can expect to experience some side effects as a result of the accelerated weight loss. These include flu-like symptoms, fatigue, body aches, dry skin, feeling cold, hair thinning or loss, or changes in mood or behavior. 

How long should I wait to resume exercise after surgery?

Exercising post weight loss surgery is critical for maintaining long-term weight loss. Patients can begin an exercise regimen two to three weeks following surgery or even earlier with their doctor’s consent. Low impact exercises like walking and swimming are great to start, with patients slowly scaling up the intensity over time. 

The surgeons at the BASS Bariatric Surgery Center have many years of expertise with gastric sleeve surgery. Our team is ready to help answer any additional questions you may have before making a decision about undergoing weight loss surgery. Visit our website or give us a call at 925-281-3711 to learn more!

About The Author

Daniel Roman, Content Writer

Daniel Roman is a Digital Content Writer at BASS Medical Group. He received his Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley in 2021. Daniel has published multiple newspaper articles covering public health issues. His latest was a magazine cover story on pandemics and diseases that he co-wrote with Dr. Elena Conis, a historian of medicine, public health, and the environment.

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