Challenges After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight Gain After Gastric Sleeve & How to Reverse It

Weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Happens for as many as 30% of patients
  • Starts anywhere from 18 months to 6 years after surgery
  • Ranges from a regaining a small amount of weight to all of the excess weight lost
  • Is usually caused by the stomach stretching back out as the result of poor diet choices

Read below for more information.


Click on any of the topics below to jump directly to that section

  1. Weight Regain
  2. Reverse Weight Gain
  3. Patient Community & Expert Advice
Bariatric Surgery Source

Reason for Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery


  • The most common cause of weight regain is your stomach stretching as a result of poor diet choices, which allows you to eat more and, as a result, gain weight

Gastric sleeve surgery works by making the patient feel full sooner while eating and by reducing the amount of hunger-causing hormones secreted by the stomach. As a result, patients lose up to 70% of their excess body weight within 18 months to 2 years.

However, up to 3 out of 10 gastric sleeve patients gain weight after reaching their low weight (1)(2). The amount varies widely by patient, ranging from only a small amount of weight to all of it (3)(4).

Can a gastric sleeve stretch?

Yes. If you lost weight initially and then gained some back, it was most likely caused by your smaller sleeve stomach stretching out as a result of poor diet choices or lifestyle habits, including (5):

  • Eating or drinking the wrong things
  • Not exercising enough
  • Overeating during meals
  • Drinking within 30 minutes of your meals (before or after)

However, the sleeve stomach may also stretch for patients with perfect diets and eating habits.

Gastric sleeve stretching causes weight regain by allowing patients to eat more during meals and by increasing the amount of hunger-causing hormones secreted by your stomach.


How to Reverse Weight Gain


  • You'll need change your diet & lifestyle back to the good habits you formed just after surgery
  • You can for more support online or in-person
  • Talk to your doctor about medication
  • You can investigate a revision surgery
  • You should address food addiction

There are 5 options for reversing weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Change your diet & lifestyle
  • Ask for more support
  • Ask about medication
  • Have a gastric sleeve revision surgery (last resort)
  • If food addiction is present, seek treatment

Click below for more information about each option.

Change your diet & lifestyle

Two of the most common reasons for gastric sleeve weight gain are (6)(7):

  • Consuming the wrong foods/liquids or too much foods/liquids
  • Not exercising enough

Review our Gastric Sleeve Diet Guidelines and Exercise Guidelines and compare them to your current habits. If you’ve let yourself slip, make a concerted effort to get back on track before considering surgery.

Talk with your surgeon and dietitian about helping you get on a strict dietary regimen to get back on track.

Start & Maintain a Diet Journal

Diet journals are directly associated with more weight loss (8). If you reach your low point then gain weight after gastric sleeve, a well-kept journal will help you to:

  • Set goals and record progress
  • Plan your meals ahead of time
  • Prevent “cheating” on your meal plans
  • Shop smartly – take your journal with you to the grocery store and only buy the foods that you have planned

If you haven’t been journaling, give it a try before exploring more aggressive options like revision surgery.

Ask for more support

It’s so much more difficult to succeed on your own. If haven’t done so already, talk with your surgeon about specialists and local support groups.

Talk with a Specialist

Your surgeon should have several gastric sleeve specialists either in-house or nearby who are experts at helping patients experiencing weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery, including:

  • Dietitian
  • Psychologist
  • Personal Trainer

Set up an appointment with your surgeon to discuss your options.

Join a Gastric Sleeve Support Group

If you’re having a tough time sticking to your diet and exercise goals on your own, join a local support group of other gastric sleeve patients. Odds are, at least a few people in the group will have struggled with gastric sleeve weight gain.

Your surgeon’s office should be able to refer you to a good group.

In addition to the invaluable encouragement and support you’ll receive from others who know your challenges, support groups also result in more weight loss. Several studies have shown that regular weight loss support group attendees lose as much as 12% more excess weight than patients who do not attend (9).

See our Weight Loss Surgery Support Group page for more information.

Ask about medication

Medication is usually not effective for weight regain after gastric sleeve surgery, but it’s worth discussing with your surgeon.

For example, one study of gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients undergoing revision surgery for weight regain or inadequate weight loss found that the medication Topiramate made patients more likely to lose weight (10).

Have a gastric sleeve revision surgery

Revision surgery should only be considered as a last resort for addressing weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery. Just like your initial surgery, it’s time consuming, costs money, carries risk, and isn’t guaranteed to work long-term.

Following are the 4 gastric sleeve revision surgery options in order of the most long-term weight loss:

  1. Convert to duodenal switch
  2. Convert to gastric bypass
  3. Re-sleeve (having another gastric sleeve surgery)
  4. Convert to Lap-Band (“band over sleeve”)

See our Gastric Sleeve Revision Surgery Guide for more information about each option, including expected weight loss, risks, and cost.

Address Food Addiction

Gastric sleeve patients with food addiction are at high risk of weight regain after surgery. If you think you may have a food addiction, you are strongly encouraged to meet with a therapist and discuss this further. Food addiction symptoms include:

  • Eating due to stress
  • Food cravings despite being full
  • Feeling guilty about what or how much you ate
  • Prioritizing food over work, friends, family
  • Justifying unhealthy food choices (making excuses)

Meeting with a therapist to address food addiction can lead to weight loss. Therapist are trained to uncover the root cause of your eating, and working with one might be the missing link to lose the weight you gained back.

Bariatric Surgery Source

Patient Community & Expert Advice


  • You can read about the experiences of other patients who gained weight
  • You can "Ask the Expert"

Have you experienced weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery? Have you been successful at reversing your weight regain?

Please use the form below to share your experiences or submit your questions.

Close Help

Entering your question or experiences is easy to do. Just type!… Your comments and questions will appear on a Web page exactly the way you enter it here. You can wrap a word in square brackets to make it appear bold. For example [my story] would show as my story on the Web page containing your story. TIP: Since most people scan Web pages, include your best thoughts in your first paragraph.

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional) [ ? ]

Close Help

Do you have some pictures or graphics to add? Great! Click the button and find the first one on your computer. Select it and click on the button to choose it. Then click on the link if you want to upload up to 3 more images.


Click here to upload more images (optional)




Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

submission guidelines.

Privacy: We promise to use your e-mail address only to notify you as requested.

We will need your e-mail address to notify you. Please enter...

Your Name
Your Email Address

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Submit Your Question or Contribution

Questions From Other Visitors*

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page.

Weight Gain Due to Poor Diet Choices 8 Years After Gastric Sleeve*

So I always told myself that if I gained weight back it would be my ultimate failure in life, and yes, I have gained. I had gastric sleeve surgery 8…

Food & Bowel Problems Advice One Month After Gastric Sleeve*

I had a bariatric sleeve done June 24, 2015. So far I have lost 31 pounds. I am having a hard time finding things to eat. Baby food tastes nasty…

Breast Cancer After Gastric Sleeve Followed By Weight Regain*

I had WLS in July 2013.....I went with the gastric sleeve. I lost 80 pounds and got down to 135 pounds. I was in a solid size 6. Last June,…

Weight Regain One Year After Gastric Sleeve Surgery*

About a year and a half ago I had gastric sleeve surgery and lost about 30 kgs (66 lbs) which is perfect. However, my stomach stretched and I started to…

Patient Experience: Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery*

I had Gastric Sleeve done 1 year and 7 months ago and for about 5 months I have been gaining weight... about 23 pounds total. I think it is because…

I thought it was over my struggle with food*

Before going for my gastric sleeve operation my weight was 29 stones and 8 pounds. Six months later I was almost 17 stones lighter. I totally embraced my after-op program:…

Patient Experience: Gastric Sleeve Weight Regain*

I went into surgery at 330 lbs - when I went under for surgery I thought I was having gastric bypass. During surgery it came to be known that my…

Gained Back 40 Pounds in 8 Years Since Gastric Sleeve Surgery*

I had a gastric sleeve procedure in 2005. I went from 275 to 120 pounds and felt fantastic. It was effortless as I had to remind myself to eat, was…

Are My Bad Habits Leading to Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve?*

Hello there, My name is Anne, I am 4 years out from my Gastric Sleeve. The day of the surgery I was 5'4, and 254, BMI of 44 or so.…

How Do I Get Past My Weight Loss Plateau?*

Hello, I am a couple months post-op with the gastric sleeve and have a problem: the dreaded weight loss plateau. I was doin' great, losin' weight at a steady pace,…

Bariatric Surgery Source
* Disclaimers: Content: The information contained in this website is provided for general information purposes and your specific results may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. Advertising: Bariatric Surgery Source, LLC has entered into referral and advertising arrangements with certain medical practices, original equipment manufacturers, and financial companies under which we receive compensation (in the form of flat fees per qualifying action) when you click on links to our partners and/or submit information. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Read More

Request a Free Insurance Check

Fill out the below form for a free insurance check performed in partnership with your local bariatric surgeon.


Los Angeles/Orange County