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Gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy)

Gastric sleeve surgery can help you achieve long-term weight loss.

Surgeon and theatre team performing gastric sleeve surgery (also known as sleeve gastrectomy)
Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the most commonly performed weight loss surgeries in the UK. 

A gastric sleeve is created during a sleeve gastrectomy.

This is a weight loss surgery to make the stomach smaller and promote weight loss. Sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve surgery (as it is also known) reduces the stomach in size by about 75%. Successful gastric sleeve surgery can help patients lose substantial weight that is long-term.

During gastric sleeve surgery, a large part of the stomach is made smaller, meaning you can't eat as much and will be full more easily after surgery.

The reduced stomach size following this procedure helps to keep a feeling of fullness for longer. If you follow a gastric sleeve diet (a healthy, balanced diet recommended by your Consultant) you will likely lose a significant amount of weight. This surgery is not reversible.

A gastric band surgery happens when a band is placed around your stomach, creating a small pouch at the top of your stomach. This is connected to a device under the skin and tightened after surgery. You will feel full more easily and absorb fewer calories when you eat as a result.

You will notice results immediately. After surgery, you will start to lose weight.

How much weight you lose in total varies from person to person. Your Consultant will be able to estimate how much you are likely to lose based on individual factors such as your diet, how you manage your recovery and your weight before surgery.

You will still experience natural hunger after weight loss surgery, but you will feel full more quickly.

It is important to differentiate legitimate hunger from cravings. This is something your Consultant can support with.

Opting for gastric sleeve surgery is a major decision. There are several things to consider before doing so, including:

The main types of weight loss surgery

There are several different types of weight loss surgery, including:

  • Gastric band surgery: this happens when a band is placed around your stomach, making you feel fuller
  • Gastric bypass: this happens when the top of your stomach is connected to your small intestine, making you feel fuller and absorb less calories
  • Intra-gastric balloon surgery: an intra-gastric balloon is a soft balloon filled with air or salt water. It is fitted into your stomach using a thin tube passed down your throat. It usually only stays in for 6 months.

This means you will not need or be able to eat as much before you feel full. But it's only a temporary measure and the balloon is usually left in for a maximum of 6 months.

Discuss these options with your Consultant to decide the best option for you.

You have to think about the benefits of the surgery you opt for. Generally, you will benefit from surgery by losing weight and reducing health risks associated with obesity. Weight loss surgery should also improve your confidence and mental health as a result.

Gastric sleeve surgery provides instant results, meaning you will lose weight right away. If your desire is to lose weight immediately, then surgery might be a good option for you.

You also have to think about safety.

Weight loss surgery is generally considered a safe procedure, but all surgical procedures carry risks and complications. You can read more about these below.

A gastric sleeve operation is usually completed within three hours. Here is some more information about the process of the procedure:

A gastric sleeve operation: the process

Before your operation, you will likely meet with your Dietician and Consultant to ensure you have the best possible help and support in the run-up to the surgery.

Preparing for gastric sleeve surgery

In preparation for gastric sleeve surgery, you will likely be given a specific diet to follow. This is usually starts two weeks prior to surgery.

You will also be advised to follow a liquid diet the day before having the procedure.

During the procedure

You will be under general anaesthetic during the procedure. It will be carried out laparoscopically, which is a less invasive technique performed through an instrument inserted into abdomen using small gastric sleeve incisions.

During the procedure, your Consultant will remove around 75% of your stomach. This results in the stomach being shaped as a tube or "sleeve", which holds less food.

The operation itself is usually completed within three hours, but this can vary from person to person.

Your hospital stay should last just under a week.

Your healthcare team will make sure you are comfortable after surgery and have everything you need, including pain relief if needed.

They will also advise you on how best to manage your recovery at home.

Although you will have regular follow-up appointments after surgery, you will also be able to call members of your healthcare team for advice throughout your journey.

Your recovery journey is a key chapter in your healthcare journey, which is why it is important to have an understanding of your recovery timeline before having surgery.

Recovery time

You will be able to leave hospital in under one week. Pain after surgery is normal and should be managed with pain relief medication advised by your Consultant.

Within one to three weeks, you should be able to return to work, but this depends on your job.

You will lose weight rapidly up until the six-month period, following this time the rate of weight loss will decrease.

Your lifestyle after surgery

Throughout your recovery time, you need to maintain a balanced diet and follow any specialist exercises recommended by your Consultant.

Depression after gastric sleeve surgery

After gastric sleeve surgery, your life will take a whole new direction and will no longer by hyper-focused on food. This can lead to symptoms of depression.

Your Consultant can advise you on how best to manage these symptoms and whether you need to seek specialist help.

Like any procedure, gastric sleeve surgery has risks. It's important to know what these are before you have surgery.

Gastric sleeve side effects

Risks of this procedure include:

  • Blood clots;
  • Suffering a hernia after gastric sleeve surgery;
  • Excessive bleeding, and
  • Breathing issues.

You should discuss the long-term results of gastric sleeve surgery with your Consultant, they will keep you informed each step of the way.

The cost of private gastric sleeve surgery varies depending on where and when you receive treatment.

To find out about the cost of private gastric sleeve surgery with us, you can call one of our experienced advisors directly on +441413006030 to enquire more about the cost of treatment.

Jamie's experience with gastric sleeve surgery

Jamie had gastric sleeve surgery at Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow. Before surgery, Jamie was over 24 stone, felt depressed, and struggled to walk short distances.

Now, Jamie feels physically and emotionally better than ever before.

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