Sleeve Gastrectomy

This newer and minimally invasive surgery is gaining popularity among doctors. This procedure generates weight loss by removing a portion of the stomach, decreasing its size by 60% to 80%. The remaining stomach takes on a tube or sleeve like shape. This limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. This surgery is nonreversible.

Even though the procedure significantly reduces the size of the stomach, it still allows the stomach to function normally. Most food items can be consumed, but in smaller amounts. Research has even shown that a hormone which induces hunger, and is secreted by the part of the stomach which is cut away, will not be produced anymore and appetite will be decreased. For these reasons, this surgery is thought to be superior to other types of weight loss surgery.

The West Georgia Surgery team will work to ensure that you are properly qualified for surgery and have support throughout your weight loss journey.

Who are candidates for sleeve gastrectomy?

This surgery is often the first stage before more radical surgery, such as gastric bypass, for a person who is too obese or ill to undergo a more invasive procedure. Sleeve gastrectomy can help a prospective gastric bypass patient obtain rapid weight loss prior to gastric bypass surgery and decrease the risk of complications. It is also ideal as a stand alone surgery to help lower BMI and lose weight.

You must meet the following criteria:

  • You have a BMI of at least 35
  • You are morbidly (BMI > 40) or super-super obese (BMI > 60)
  • You are not in appropriate physical condition for gastric bypass
  • You cannot easily return for the many follow-up visits gastric banding requires
  • You are prepared to make the necessary lifestyle changes

The Surgery

This surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 1 to 2 hours. Since this surgery is laparoscopic, Dr. Turton will make small incisions in your abdomen instead of one big incision, and insert a special camera and the surgical instruments that will remove part of your stomach. Once a portion of your stomach is removed, the remaining "sleeve" is closed.

Advantages of Sleeve Gastrectomy:

  • Less invasive than gastric bypass
  • No rerouting of the intestines
  • Stomach empties normally into the small intestine
  • Does not require an implanted device as with the LAP-BAND® System
  • Better for patients with prior surgery or medical conditions
  • Fewer complications and malabsorption issues
  • Little risk of "dumping syndrome"
  • Nutritional supplementation is not as great as with gastric bypass
  • Rapid weight loss within a year
  • Additional weight loss surgeries can follow, if necessary

Risks associated with Sleeve Gastrectomy:

  • Leakage of the sleeve (stomach) leading to infection
  • The stomach can stretch and weight may be regained over time
  • Need for additional weight loss surgery
  • Malabsorption
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Death


Stopping smoking has shown to significantly decrease complications and reduce chances of leaks. You may be encouraged to start on a healthy diet consisting of smaller, more frequent meals in the weeks leading up to your operation. You may need to incorporate healthier foods into your diet and exercise more. This is to get you used to a change in lifestyle and possibly lose weight beforehand. This will help reduce risks and enhance surgical outcomes.

Dr. Turton will determine what pre-surgery steps are appropriate for you. The West Georgia Surgery bariatric team will review all preoperative instructions with you to ensure you are in the best condition possible for your surgery.


Most patients will only be hospitalized for 1 to 2 days following surgery. You will be prescribed pain medication to make you more comfortable. While exercise and heavy lifting are not permitted right after surgery, walking is encouraged to prevent blood clots. Many patients can go back to work after only one week. A full recovery can take up to 3 weeks.

In the first 24 hours you can only drink water to make certain you have no problem consuming or retaining fluids. You will adhere to a liquid diet in the two weeks after surgery, followed by two weeks of pureed food before being reintroduced to solid foods. You will be provided with a post-surgery nutrition plan, complete with a vitamin and mineral regimen, that should be followed to prevent malnutrition. Our registered dieticians will explain this in great detail before your surgery.

The West Georgia Surgery bariatric team is here to assist you along the way, providing encouragement and answering your questions

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