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Harley Street,
The London Independent Hospital
Stepney Green,
E1 4NL
Spire London East Hospital
The Holly Hospital
Buckhurst Hill,
Rivers Hospital
CM21 0HH
Nuffield Health
CM15 8EH

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Gastric sleeve surgery could be a good option if you have tried and failed to lose weight through diet and exercise. You could be a suitable candidate if you have a BMI over 40 or a BMI of at least 35 and an obesity-linked condition such as type 2 diabetes. You will also need to be physically fit for surgery and committed to making long term changes to your lifestyle.

Gastric sleeve surgery reduces the size of your stomach by up to 85%. The remaining part of your stomach will be stapled into a small tube or sleeve, about the size of a banana. You won’t be able to eat as much after the procedure and you should feel less hungry as you will be producing less of the hormones that stimulate your appetite.

The amount of weight you lose will depend on how well you stick to your diet after surgery. The average patient will lose 50-60% of their excess weight within two years, but you could lose more in the long term.

If you have a condition that is linked to your weight, you may see an improvement after surgery as you begin to lose weight. Gastric sleeve surgery is particularly effective for type 2 diabetics, which can sometimes disappear completely after the procedure. Your doctors will monitor your condition and make changes to your treatment if necessary.

Common side effects after a sleeve gastrectomy include soreness and slight swelling around the surgical wounds. You may experience some nausea or discomfort after eating at first. You could also have dumping syndrome if you eat too much sugar. If you suffer from acid reflux, it could get worse after gastric sleeve surgery because your stomach will be smaller.

All medical procedures come with a small risk of complications. Approximately 5% of people who have gastric sleeve surgery will have complications of some kind. Although these are usually relatively mild and easy to treat, they can sometimes be more serious. The complications are fatal in 0.2% of people.

Potential risks of sleeve gastrectomy include:

  • Post-operative infections
  • Leaks where your stomach has been stapled together
  • Narrowing or stricture of the stomach sleeve after surgery
  • Damage to your organs during the operation
  • A bad reaction to the anaesthetic
  • Heavy bleeding or blood clots
  • Gallstones

Gastric sleeve surgery is not reversible because part of your stomach will be removed. However, it is possible for the remaining part of your stomach to stretch in time, if you overeat. You will need to follow your diet in order to prevent this from happening.

You should be able to eat a normal range of foods within a few months of your sleeve gastrectomy. However, you should avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar as these will prevent you from losing weight. It is best to choose meals that include textured, filling foods that will satisfy your stomach. Liquids and soft foods will pass through your stomach too quickly, so you won’t feel full even when you’ve had enough.

You should be able to get all the nutrition you need from your food after a sleeve gastrectomy. Your doctor can provide advice on eating well after surgery and may recommend a supplement if you are finding it difficult to get enough of certain vitamins.


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