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The Benefits and Risks of the Gastric Sleeve  

gastric sleeve benefits and risks

A bariatric procedure, like the gastric sleeve, helps thousands of people every year to lose weight and reverse obesity related health conditions. While this powerful surgery saves lives and has several benefits that go beyond just weight loss, it also comes with potential risks that all patients should be aware of.  

The Benefits of the Gastric Sleeve

1. Weight Loss

The main reason the majority of people choose the gastric sleeve is to lose weight. On average most patients lose around 60-70% of their excess weight between the first 6 to 24 months of gastric sleeve surgery. However, we have seen patients go beyond this and lose more.  

See our success stories here 

Compared to the gastric band, the gastric sleeve has a higher weight loss result. This is down to two reasons:  

  1. The stomach is reduced in capacity by 80%, meaning patients get fuller from a much smaller portion of food. 
  1. Hunger hormone Gherlin, is removed. This means that patients won’t feel hungry as much throughout the day, and it especially removes the cravings for sugary and sweet food.  

2. Reduced Health Conditions

Highlighted by the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, being overweight has an additional risk on our overall health. People who suffer with obesity are more likely to have heath conditions such as:  

  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • High blood pressure 
  • PCOS 
  • Sleep apnoea 
  • Joint pain 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Higher risk of cancer 
  • High risk of stroke 

Weight loss surgery like the gastric sleeve can help reduce the risk of contracting these and even reverse some. We have seen many patients become free from their diabetes medication after they have started to lose weight.  

3. Improved fertility

Excess weight can cause hormone imbalances in women that effect ovulation, which can mean getting pregnant is difficult. There is also the risk that a higher BMI increases the chances of having a health condition like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). We know that having PCOS can mean losing weight is difficult and it can feel like a cycle that never ends.  

Losing just 10% of excess weight can help reduce PCOS and with the gastric sleeve having an expected excess weight loss of 60-70%, its no surprise that this surgery helps a number of women increase their chance of pregnancy.  

4. Improved Mental Health

We know there is a link between mental health struggles and obesity. In a recent blog on our website, we delved into this and found that it was common for people to be stuck in a cycle of low mood and gaining weight.   

The gastric sleeve can help people regain control over their body. Once they start to see the changes physically they feel it mentally too. One of our patients told us that her weight loss surgery has helped her be completely free from her depression and anxiety medication.  

5. Increased Life Expectancy

Studies have shown that people who have weight loss surgery, like the gastric sleeve, can lose weight and keep it off which can add an additional 10 years onto their life. 

The Risks of the Gastric Sleeve

As with any surgery, there are operative and long-term complications and risks associated with gastric sleeve obesity surgery but, in experienced hands, the procedure is very safe and the risks associated with the surgery are relatively small. The operation itself is technically very simple as it does not involve any cutting or joining of the bowel, unlike some other weight loss procedures such as the gastric bypass, and this is reflected in its low rate of early complications being only 3-5% and in the low mortality rate of 0.1 – 0.5% (1 in 1000 to 5 in 1000). 

Gastric sleeve risks include

Gastric sleeve risks include:  

  • Haemorrhage (bleeding)  
  • Leaks from staple lines leading to infection  
  • Adverse reactions to anaesthesia and/or medication  
  • Blood clots (Deep vein thrombosis in the legs / Pulmonary embolus on the lungs)  
  • Longer-term, potential nutritional deficiency  
  • Marginal ulcer  
  • Narrowing of the stomach 

Read more about the common complications of gastric sleeve surgery 

If you are interested in a gastric procedure such as the gastric band, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or ESG. You can contact our expert team today and book a free consult with one of our weight loss surgeons.


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