If you are 80 or more pounds overweight, gastric sleeve surgery may be one of the safest and most reliable options for significant, fast, and long-term weight loss.
During the procedure, your surgeon will drastically reduce the size of your stomach. As a result:
- You will feel less hungry and your smaller stomach will not be able to hold as much food, so you will eat much less and lose weight quickly
- You can expect to lose up to 70% of your excess weight within a year
- For example: if you’re 5’ 4” and weigh 220 lbs, you will lose up to 55+ lbs within 1 year
- If you’re 5′ 9” and weigh 300 lbs, you will lose up to 95+ lbs within 1 year
- You will improve or cure your obesity-related health problems and feel better
Read the sections below for everything you need to know about gastric sleeve surgery (also called the vertical sleeve gastrectomy).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Click on any of the topics below to jump directly to that section
- The gastric sleeve reduces your stomach size by 80%
- You will feel full sooner while eating due to a smaller stomach and, as a result, you’ll eat less
- You will feel less hungry because your smaller stomach will secrete fewer hunger-causing hormones
The gastric sleeve procedure is done laparoscopically (using small incisions) in 1 to 2 hours.
During surgery, your surgeon will make between 1 and 5 small incisions in your abdomen (which minimizes gastric sleeve scars), insert various laparoscopic instruments, and remove about 80% of your stomach. This leaves a banana-shaped “sleeve” that connects the esophagus to the small intestines. Some surgeons will then reinforce the staple line.
Your much smaller stomach will cause you to feel full sooner so you’ll eat less and, as a result, achieve long-term weight loss.
The gastric sleeve procedure is done for patients of all ages, from children to the elderly.
- You will lose up to 70% of your excess weight within 1 year
- For example, if you’re 5’ 4” and weigh 220 lbs, you will lose up to 55+ lbs within 1 year
- If you’re 5' 9” and weigh 300 lbs, you will lose up to 95+ lbs within 1 year
Weight loss happens fast after gastric sleeve surgery:
- Month 3: About 33% of your excess weight is gone
- Month 6: About half of your excess weight is gone
- Month 12: Up to 70% of your excess weight is gone
Most patients reach a plateau around the 1 to 2 year mark. Patients who eat and exercise right are usually able to keep the weight off or lose even more.
But many patients let their dedication slip and regain some weight. This is due to the stomach stretching over time, which is usually caused by overeating.
By 5 years after surgery, the average patient has kept off over half of their excess weight.
You can avoid weight regain by:
- Working closely with your surgeon’s dietitian or nutritionist
- Using a personal trainer
- Attending in-person or online support groups at least twice per month
- Keeping a food journal
- Having the support of your family and friends
- Maintaining your motivation and dedication
For more information, see our page on Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss.
See our Gastric Sleeve Before and After page for pictures of other gastric sleeve patients, including women, men, and celebrities.
- Gastric sleeve surgery will cure or improve your diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and at least 12 other conditions
Gastric sleeve results in complete “resolution” (cure, as long as weight loss is maintained) of many obesity-related health problems, including those listed below:
- Sleep apnea
- Cholesterol problems
- and at least 10 other conditions
Patients who aren’t cured usually experience a noticeable improvement.
Note that patients who have a strict follow-up schedule with their surgeon at 3-, 6-, and 12-months post-op see greater improvements in or remission of their diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol than patients who skip these visits (1).
Gastric sleeve weight loss also improves joint health. For every pound of weight lost, there is a 4 pound reduction in pressure on the knee (2). This improves mobility and reduces pain in the knees.
Further, 88,000 weight loss surgery participants were involved in data collection for cancer research. Results state that patients who undergo weight loss surgery have 33% less risk of developing cancer (3).
Risk rates were even further reduced for obesity-related cancers, including (4):
- Colon cancer
- Postmenopausal breast cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- 35+ body mass index (BMI) required
- If your BMI is under 40, you must have at least one obesity-related health problem
You could be a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery if:
- You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, OR
- Your BMI is from 35 to 39.9 and you have a serious obesity-related health problem
Serious obesity-related health problems most commonly include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Many others (see Health Benefits section above)
If you do not meet one of the above two BMI requirements, you still might qualify for one other less invasive procedure: the Gastric Balloon. See our Gastric Balloon Patient Guide for more information.
- See our Gastric Sleeve Qualifications page for more information about who qualifies and who does not.
- For a list of frequently asked questions about qualifying, see our “Do I Qualify For Weight Loss Surgery?” page.
- Gastric sleeve is covered if your insurance policy includes bariatric surgery
Gastric sleeve insurance coverage varies by country and insurance policy. Your insurance will cover gastric sleeve if your specific policy includes weight loss surgery and you have:
- Completed a medically supervised diet program
- A body mass index (BMI) over 35 with health problems or over 40 without health problems Click here to use our Check My Insurance Tool.
In the U.S., gastric sleeve cost with insurance can be as low as $0 (no charge to the patient), depending on your policy. However, most insurance plans require the patient to pay part of the costs in the form of copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. Scroll down this page to learn about the cost of gastric sleeve surgery without insurance.Click Here to Check Your Insurance
See our Gastric Sleeve Insurance Guide for everything you need to know about getting insurance to pay for surgery.
- Average Patient Pays: $500 to $5,000 with insurance, $12,000 to $22,000 without insurance
- If you get a medical loan, the loan payment is $445 a month, on average
- You can usually get discounts &/or tax savings
According to our annual surgeon cost survey, the average total gastric sleeve cost without insurance is $19,000. However, costs vary widely by state and surgeon. For example, our survey found that the highest average cost of gastric sleeve, $58,000, can be found in Alaska while the lowest average cost, $12,000, is available in Texas and South Dakota. Click here for an interactive map of average gastric sleeve costs by state and region.
Many insurance plans cover gastric sleeve surgery, which will drop your out-of-pocket costs considerably. Patients with insurance that covers gastric sleeve can expect to pay an average of $3,500 for the procedure, although some plans will drop that amount well below $1,000.
If you don’t have insurance that covers the procedure, the good news is that:
- Your insurance may still cover some of your costs, such as pre-op testing, even if weight loss surgery is not an included benefit under your plan
- Gastric sleeve patients save about $11,000 per year compared to the medical costs they would have incurred had they remained obese. In other words, your gastric sleeve would pay for itself in under two years.
- Special discounts are usually offered to “self-pay” patients
- Your out-of-pocket costs may be tax deductible
- Loans are available to make it more affordable
See our Gastric Sleeve Cost page for more information or click here to contact a gastric sleeve surgeon to ask for a free cost quote.
- If you properly prepare before you have surgery, it reduces your risks during surgery, leads to more weight loss, & saves you money
Your surgeon will work closely with you during the weeks leading up to surgery, including:
- Asking you to complete a health assessment, including questions about your medical history, medications, and surgical history
- Ordering certain tests like an ECG, x-ray, and blood tests
Establishing a pre-surgery diet regimen, including:
2 Weeks Before
- No sugar
- Lower carbs
- Increased protein
- Increased veggies
- Plenty of fluids
2 Days Before
- Clear liquids, broth, one protein shake per day only
- Talk with your surgeon about whether you should stop taking any medications
12 Hours Before
- No food or drink, no tobacco
- 2 Weeks Before
Your other big goal before surgery: lose as much weight as possible. Here’s why:
- The more weight you lose pre-op, the more weight you will lose after surgery
- The lower your pre-op weight, the lower your risk of complications
- You will regain weight if you slip into old habits. The sooner you can establish good diet and exercise habits, the more likely you will be to maintain them after surgery
On surgery day, you’ll perform the typical pre-surgery routine:
- Remove all clothes and jewelry
- Put on your hospital gown
- Meet with your nurse and anesthesiologist
- Start your IV
- Receive medication for relaxation and sleep
See our Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery page for more information.
- Hospital Stay: You will be there for 2 to 3 days
- Time Off Work: You will need 1 to 3 weeks off of work
- Full Recovery: You will be “fully recovered” in 4 to 6 weeks
- Pain: The pain is manageable – it’s the same as any laparoscopic surgery and managed with medication
- Diet & Activity: Slow transition from clear liquids to solid foods and regular activity and exercise
You’ll arrive at the hospital at least two hours before surgery to allow for prep time. The gastric sleeve procedure itself will take about 2 hours to perform. Immediately after surgery, you’ll have a dedicated nurse to manage your pain and check your vitals.
Click here for more about what to expect in the hospital.
Your gastric sleeve surgery recovery may include challenges like nausea, digestive issues, and body changes that will go away over time or after adjusting diet/lifestyle habits.
Some surgeons allow you to return home on the same day as surgery. This practice isn’t common and the surgery must be completed without complications. If you’d prefer to recover at home, ask your surgeon if this option is available.
After you return home, you will have a follow up visit with your doctor within 2 weeks to ensure you are recovering well and to address any questions. Later visits will be scheduled as-needed.
See our Gastric Sleeve Recovery page for an in-depth recovery timeline and details about each aspect of recovery.
- You will be on a restricted diet with vitamin and mineral supplementation after your gastric sleeve surgery
- You should expect to add regular exercise to your weekly routine to achieve your health and weight loss goals
- You will be less hungry than before you had the surgery
- Your personal relationships may change
- You should attend your weight loss surgery support group regularly
Weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery often takes center stage for new patients. It’s also important to consider what day-to-day life will be like.
Your surgery is only a tool. Long-term success requires diligence and sometimes difficult change in other areas.
The following sections give you an idea about what to expect before and after surgery. Every surgeon is different, and every patient is different. Please talk with your surgeon before acting on any of the following advice.
Food & Drink: Your Diet Transition Schedule
Diet requirements by time frame are summarized below:
- 2+ Weeks Before Surgery – Practice your post-sleeve diet
- 2 Weeks Before Surgery – High protein, low sugar, low carbs
- 1 Week Before Surgery – Stop or change some medications
- 2 Days Before Surgery – Clear liquids only
- Midnight Before Surgery to 7 Days After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon) – Nothing to eat or drink
- In Hospital (Varies by Surgeon) – Clear liquids only
- Day 1 to Week 2 After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon) – Add thicker drinks & smooth foods (no chunks)
- Day 2 to Week 3 After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon) – Slowly test pureed & soft solid foods
- Day 3 to Weeks 4+ After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon) – Slowly test solid foods
For details about each stage, see the following pages:
Vitamins & Supplements: Your 5 Lifelong Supplements
You will start taking a vitamin regime for the rest of your life after gastric sleeve surgery. This will help you make up for any nutrients you might not be getting in your daily diet. Here is a list of the vitamins your doctor may ask you to take:
- Multivitamin – Prevents general nutrition problems & vitamin deficiency
- Calcium – Keeps your bones strong
- Folate (folic acid) – Reduces risk of anemia
- Iron – Prevents stroke, heart attack, or other blood-related issues
- Vitamin D – Prevents rickets (weakening of bones, muscles, and teeth)
For detailed information about each vitamin, see our Gastric Sleeve Vitamins & Supplements section.
Exercise: You should exercise 2.5 hours per week, spread out over 2 to 4 days
Exercise is almost as important as your diet when it comes to long-term success:
- Patients who exercise regularly lose more weight over the long-term
- Physical and mental health benefits are incredible
How much exercise do you need for noticeable results?
One study of weight loss surgery patients found that 2.5 hours per week resulted in 5.7% greater excess weight loss (5).
Working out regularly will also lead to quicker and better health improvement after surgery (6). To help you stay on track, block out time to exercise at the same times on the same days of the week.
Also, spread your 2.5 hours per week out over 3 or 4 days (in other words, 30 to 45 minutes 3 or 4 days per week). This will make it less intimidating to get started each day and will help you build endurance.
There should be 3 main goals of your exercise routine:
- Endurance – walking, stationary bike, and especially swimming
- Flexibility – a good stretching routine. Yoga is best since it incorporates proper breathing and uses your own body weight to build strength
- Strength – exercise balls, weights, and yoga
Your Brain: Less Hungry, Careful About Food Addiction, New Mentality Will Change Behavior & Relationships
Ghrelin Hormone & Hunger
You may feel less hungry following surgery.
When your stomach is empty, it secretes a hormone called ghrelin into your bloodstream. This causes your brain to generate hunger impulses.
After you eat, the amount of secreted ghrelin drops then slowly rises until your next meal. Since your stomach will be so much smaller after gastric sleeve surgery, the amount of ghrelin it secretes may also go down.
Less ghrelin in your system means you will feel less hungry than you did before surgery.
See our page about Obesity & Genetics for more information.
Our bodies secrete certain hormones (like ghrelin) that tell us when we’re hungry. Junk food may override those hormone signals by overstimulating our brains’ reward centers. This is just like the way our bodies and brains react to an addictive drug.
You may have food addiction if your desire for food takes priority over other important parts of your life, such as:
- Personal health
- Your appearance
- Avoiding obesity related health issues like hypertension, sleep apnea, or diabetes
If left unchecked, food addiction can lead to obesity. If not addressed before surgery, it can also lead to weight regain after surgery.
To find out if you may be suffering from food addiction, take our Food Addiction Quiz.
Relationships After Weight Loss
Being thin again, or being thin for the first time, may be a shocking experience. Many patients express amazement at:
- No more obesity discrimination. For example, strangers tend to be nicer to thin people.
- Being treated with more respect
- Getting more romantic interest from others
- Building deeper relationships by being able to physically keep up with kids and more physically fit friends
- Getting more compliments from others
- Increased self-confidence and the effect that has on others
- Improvements in quality of sexual life (7)
But there may be negatives to being thin as well.
People who you’ve known for a long time will not be used to the way you look and may not know how to act around you. For example:
- How will overweight friends or family members feel when you’re losing weight but they are not?
- Will your new healthier diet and smaller portion sizes make meals with others awkward?
- Could intimacy with your spouse or partner be affected?
- Could your spouse or partner become jealous now that others are noticing you more?
- How will your coworkers react? Should you even tell them you are having surgery?
- Will your friends or family make it difficult for you to stay on track by making bad diet choices?
- Could your new self-confidence create conflict with people who are used the “old” you?
And what about the new “skinny lens” you see the world through? For example:
- Would this person be treating me the same way if I hadn’t lost all this weight?
- How do I handle obesity discrimination now that I’m on the “other side”?
Be prepared for both the good and the challenging “shocks” of dramatic weight loss following surgery.
For real life experiences and advice from other patients, see our Relationships After Weight Loss surgery page.
The Importance of Regularly Attending a Support Group
Regular weight loss surgery support group participation leads to:
- Reduced post-op recovery time
- As much as 12% more long-term weight loss
Your surgeon will be able to recommend a good in-person group near you.
Real Patient Experiences After Gastric Sleeve
The links below will take you to stories submitted by real patients about what life is like at various time frames after gastric sleeve surgery.
- 5 Months Post-Op (Murray from Canada)
- 16 Months Post-Op (Molly from Florida)
- 3 Years Post-Op (Mary from Australia)
- 4 Years Post-Op (Essjay from the UK)
- There is a moderate risk of non-serious complications
- Side effects may include digestion issues & sagging skin from rapid weight loss
- It is possible that you will regain some weight
The relatively simple gastric sleeve procedure results in a very high survival rate (99.7%, or 319 out of 320 patients) (8).
But it does carry a risk of complications, side effects, and other challenges, some of which can be avoided.
The three most common serious gastric sleeve complications are:
Staple line leaks – 2.1% of patients on average (between 1.09% and 4.66%, depending on the study) experience staple line leaks (9) (10)
Occur when sealed or sutured (stitched) openings leak digestive contents into the abdomen. This can cause infection and abscess. Gastrointestinal leaks occur in as many as 5% of patients and can be repaired as long as it is caught early. Symptoms include fever, severe pain and a high heart rate. In order to prevent leaks, your surgeon should check the surgical connections a number of different ways, including (1) blowing air into the connection and observing whether any gets through and (2) using a dye to check for a leak. Leaks not discovered right away are usually treated by resting the stomach (being fed through an IV), but sometimes surgery is required to fix them.
Bleeding – 1.2% of patients (11)
A copious discharge of blood from the blood vessels. One study showed that out of 1,700 laparoscopic bariatric surgery patients only 3 had hemorrhagic complications, none of which needed to be converted to open operations or needed reoperations. However, other studies have shown internal bleeding to be as high as 4% following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. After the surgeon determines the type and severity of internal bleeding, it can be resolved in a number of ways: on its own, replenishing bodily fluids, stopping the use of all anticoagulation drugs and (rarely) by transfusion or reoperation.
Stenosis/Strictures – 0.6% of patients (12)
A narrowing or constriction of the diameter of a bodily passage or orifice. This is most common in procedures that rearrange your digestive system such as gastric bypass surgery (up to 8% of patients) and duodenal switch surgery and results from a build-up of scar tissue between your intestine and your reduced stomach or at an intestine-to-intestine connection (anastomosis).
The staple line leak rate studies were done with less effective surgical techniques. Newer techniques may result in lower risks.
Blood clots are a concern after any surgery. Your surgeon will take steps to reduce the risk, including blood thinners and the use of compression stockings. They will also have you up and moving as soon as possible after surgery.
For more information about complications, visit our Gastric Sleeve Complications page.
Side Effects & Challenges
- Digestive issues
- Sagging skin
- Weight regain
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Indigestion (Dyspepsia)
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
About 1 in every 5 patients experience Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the first 12 months. The good news is that this tends to be a shorter-term issue. After 3 years, the GERD rate drops to around 3% of patients (18).
GERD is a highly variable chronic condition that is characterized by periodic episodes of gastroesophageal reflux and usually accompanied by heartburn. It may result in histopathologic changes (change in the microscopic structure) in the esophagus. It also often leads to esophagitis. GERD increases the risk of some bariatric surgery complications such as dumping syndrome and sepsis, but the condition is also improved for many following bariatric surgery.
Several at-home treatments are effective for GERD, including avoiding certain foods and drinks (alcohol, citrus juice, tomato-based food, and chocolate), waiting 3 hours before lying down after a meal, eating smaller meals and elevating your head 8 inches when you lay down. If these don’t work, your doctor may recommend/prescribe antacids, H2 blockers or even Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI).
The other digestive issues listed above can often be addressed with diet and behavior changes.
For most obese patients, the skin has been stretched out for so long to accommodate the extra weight that it has lost its elasticity. Gastric sleeve surgery causes most patients to lose a lot of weight very quickly, and your skin simply can’t keep up.
The extra skin may be embarrassing. It can also cause several issues ranging from minor to severe, including:
- Difficulty getting dressed
- Difficulty exercising, which may impact long-term weight maintenance and health
- Skin fold rashes or breakdown of skin
- Skin fold infections
In some cases, patients manage sagging skin with body-contouring undergarments. In more serious cases, patients have plastic surgery to remove the excess skin. Surgery to remove excess skin is often covered by insurance.
See our Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss page for more information.
After two years, about 1 out of 20 gastric sleeve patients have gained back some weight from their low point. That number increases to 3 out of every 4 patients after 6 years (19).
At 5 years, the average gastric sleeve patient regains at least 25% and possibly as much as 50% of the weight they lost (20).
Just as bad, the more weight you gain back, the more likely your health problems are to return. For example, one gastric sleeve study found this difference in Type 2 diabetes remission:
- Year 1: 56% of patients
- Year 5: 20% of patients
This return of Type 2 diabetes happened for patients who gained back weight (21).
The reason for weight regain?
Most patients who regain weight do so for one of the following reasons:
- They consume calories in liquid form, such as protein shakes, pureed foods, smoothies, etc. As reviewed in the Diet section above, your new sleeve stomach works by making you feel full sooner. Since liquids don’t make you feel as full as solid foods, you’ll eat more and gain weight if you get your calories from liquids instead of solids.
- They “slip” in their dedication and start to overeat or eat the wrong things. This can stretch out their smaller stomachs.
- Even if you stick with the correct diet program, there’s still a risk of weight regain. Over time, the stomach may still stretch and lead to weight regain.
Remember, gastric sleeve is one of the best tools for weight loss, but it is only a tool. To avoid weight regain, eat the right foods and make the right lifestyle choices.
See our Weight Gain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery page for more weight maintenance advice.
For surgical options to address weight regain, see our Gastric Sleeve Revision Surgery page.
Pregnancy is usually much easier and safer for gastric sleeve patients than for moms suffering from morbid obesity.
However, if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, you need to wait until at least 1 to 2 years after surgery. Waiting ensures that your body will have enough time to normalize at its new lower weight and that all nutritional requirements for a healthy pregnancy are being met.
See this page for more information.
- Out of 7 available weight loss procedures, gastric sleeve is one of the best for weight loss & health improvement
- It is 1 of 3 weight loss procedures that makes you feel less hungry
- Compared to other procedures with similar weight loss, gastric sleeve has the lowest risk of complications
- Gastric sleeve is 1 of 3 irreversible weight loss procedures
Gastric sleeve surgery is the most popular surgical weight loss procedure by far.
In the United States, it now makes up over 60% of all weight loss surgery procedures performed. This is up from 24% in 2011.
During the same time frame:
- Gastric bypass dropped from 62% to 37% (click here to compare gastric sleeve vs bypass)
- Gastric banding (e.g. LAP-BAND®) fell from 7.5% to 0.8% (22) (compare sleeve to LAP-BAND®)
Newer procedures like gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist are becoming more popular, but their numbers are nowhere close to gastric sleeve’s.
What About Stomach Stapling?
“Stomach Stapling”, or horizontal gastroplasty, is an outdated procedure that is no longer performed. Gastric sleeve has been found to be a much safer and more effective procedure. Click here for more details.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Positives
Gastric sleeve has earned its place as the most popular procedure for several reasons:
- Weight loss is as good or better than gastric bypass. It is much better than after Lap-Band surgery, gastric balloon, and vBloc Therapy.
- Health Improvement is better than every procedure other than duodenal switch.
- Reduced hunger – only gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, and vBloc Therapy make you feel less hungry.
- Short-term risk of gastric sleeve is similar to gastric bypass and lower than duodenal switch.
- Long-term risk of gastric sleeve is lower than gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and Lap-Band surgery.
- No external device – There is no external device left inside the body after gastric sleeve surgery as there is with Lap-Band, gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist, so there is no risk of device-related complications. While the risk of device-related complications is relatively low for vBloc Therapy, gastric balloon, and AspireAssist, it is a concern and should be considered for Lap-Band.
Compared to gastric bypass and duodenal switch (DS):
- Comparable improvement in obesity-related health problems
- Quicker recovery than bypass or DS
- Complication rates are lower than bypass or DS
- Risk of vitamin deficiency is lower than bypass or DS
- Little to no risk of dumping syndrome (unlike gastric bypass)
- Side effects like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea should be less likely than bypass or DS. If present, they are usually less severe than after gastric bypass.
- Less expensive overall than bypass or DS. Similar cost if you have insurance that covers weight loss surgery.
- If you are on anticoagulation medication (blood thinners), gastric sleeve surgery is probably a better choice than gastric bypass to reduce the risk of marginal ulcers.
Compared to Lap-Band surgery:
- Risk of long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is lower with gastric sleeve
- Risk of esophageal dilation, pouch dilation, and food trapping is much lower with gastric sleeve
- No risk of external-device-related issues like Lap-Band erosion, band slippage, or port problems with Lap-Band surgery
- Much lower risk of long-term complications than Lap-Band surgery
- Fewer follow up doctor visits required than after Lap-Band surgery
- More expensive overall than Lap-Band surgery. Similar cost if you have insurance that covers weight loss surgery.
- No dumping syndrome – Dumping syndrome is experienced by up to 7 out of 10 gastric bypass patients, although many patients report this being a “good thing” since it helps them keep their diet on track. Dumping syndrome is uncommon after gastric sleeve surgery.
- Cost With Insurance – The cost of gastric sleeve is tied for the lowest with gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and Lap-Band surgery (gastric balloon and vBloc Therapy usually are not covered by insurance).
Gastric Sleeve Surgery Negatives
The gastric sleeve also has negatives compared to some of the other bariatric surgery types:
- Not reversible – Unlike Lap-Band, gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist, gastric sleeve surgery is irreversible. You cannot change back your smaller stomach. This is not necessarily a “negative”, but it is worth noting. More on this below.
- Weight loss (on average) is usually less than after duodenal switch.
- Health Improvement is generally not as good as gastric bypass or duodenal switch
- Short-term risk is higher than Lap-Band, gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist.
Is Being Irreversible a Bad Thing?
The fact that gastric sleeve (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) is not reversible may not be a bad thing.
For example, any nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting are usually short-term issues. About 1 out of 5 sleeve patients have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which also improves over time. The GERD rate drops to about 3% after three years.
Patients’ bodies also tend to tolerate the sleeve better than procedures like Lap-Band or gastric bypass. For example, gastric sleeve carries a much lower risk of the following compared to Lap-Band:
- Esophageal dilation
- Pouch dilation
- Food trapping
- Port problems (since the sleeve does not use a port or any other implanted device)
For a more-detailed comparison, see our Types of Bariatric Surgery page.
To learn which procedure is best for you, click here to take our Choose the Right Procedure Quiz.
Gastric Sleeve: Test Your Knowledge
Well-educated patients are more likely to be successful over the long-term. Test your knowledge to ensure that you’re ready to take the next step!
- Ask the expert
- Patient experiences
Click the form field below to ask our experts a question or to share you experiences.
Scroll down to review questions and experiences from others.
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I have been enjoying your site so far, thank you for all the info (it really helps!). But, I was hoping to find a little more information on how bariatric…
- You can ask a local bariatric practice for a free insurance check or cost quote
- You can attend a free in-person seminar or an online webinar offered by a local weight loss surgeon
- You should schedule a phone or in-person consultation (both often free), if you are interested in learning more about weight loss surgery
Search the gastric sleeve surgeon directory below: