The gastric sleeve is a simple concept. We access the abdomen laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) and cut the stomach along its length and remove about 80%. After sleeve surgery, the food you eat will still enter and exit the stomach in the same place as it did before (unlike the gastric bypass) but you’ll have a much smaller stomach.
The sleeve helps you lose weight in two ways. It reduces the capacity of your stomach and it also changes the balance of hormones and proteins in the stomach. The change in gut hormones, including changes to GLP1, change and suppress appetite. For this reason, we expect sleeve patients to lose weight quickly.
It’s important to note that your weight loss isn’t directly related to the size of your remaining stomach. The change to gut hormones will facilitate weight loss whether you have a relatively ‘tight’ or ‘loose’ sleeve.
The surgery will usually last between 45 and 60 minutes. Usually 4, sometimes 5, small horizontal incisions will be made in the stomach through which the instruments are passed. These incisions will leave small scars that are usually about 5mm long, so very small.
You’ll stay in a hospital for a short period, usually 2 nights, and will then be discharged home where you’ll be encouraged to rest for at least 7 days to allow your body to recover.
Looking to the longer term, like all other weight loss procedures there is some weight regain. We think this is caused by the combined effect of the sleeve loosening, in some cases, and the body adjusting to the gut hormone changes we described above. Remember, your body wants to consume calories and it has evolved to be very effective at adapting to do this. The key to maintaining your weight loss is to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits at your new lower weight that will enable you to maintain the loss for the long term.
About the procedure
How the sleeve works