Sleeve gastrectomy is usually performed by laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery and involves removing about 80% of the stomach leaving a small volume “sleeve” of stomach. It reduces the amount one can eat and importantly the portion of stomach removed produces a hormone called Ghrelin that regulates appetite. Hence most patients do not feel as hungry and this helps with achieving weight loss.
It is a more invasive procedure compared to gastric banding as it involves removing 80% of the stomach. Notable risks include staple line leakage, staple line bleeding and stricture ( narrowing of the stomach sleeve ) – see below for more information on risks.
Sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively new procedure. Although deemed safe and effective, the is little data beyond 10 years as to how effective it will be with time.
There is the possibility that the ‘sleeve’ may dilate with time and result in weight regain.
All types of weight loss surgery carry risks. Most patients will not experience any complications but it is important that you are aware of the risks so you can make an informed decision regarding your surgery.
Risks can generally be divided into general surgical risks and specific risks.
General risks include but are not limited to:-
Risks of anaesthesia and medications
Injury to adjacent organs
Deep venous thrombosis ( blood clots in the leg veins)
Pulmonary embolus ( blood clots in the lung)
Failure to lose weight
Specific Risks of Sleeve Gastrectomy:-
Staple line leakage – 1-2%. This requires reoperation and may lead to a prolonged recovery
Staple line bleeding – 1-2 %. This may require reoperation.
On average sleeve gastrectomy patients can expect to lose up to 60-70% of their excess weight over the first 12-18 months following surgery. This of course depends on following an appropriate diet and maintaining an adequate regime of exercise.