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Sleeve Gastrectomy

During this procedure, your stomach is made into a tube (size of a garden hose) by utilizing several rows of titanium staples.  The remainder of your stomach is removed.  Because your new stomach holds less food, you will eat less food at one time - this will help you to lose weight because you will eat smaller quantities of food, and you will feel full very quickly. 

Deciding to undergo sleeve gastrectomy takes courage, commitment, and permanent lifestyle changes.  Throughout this program, you will encounter new challenges and opportunities as you adjust to a new method of eating and a new way of life.  Your team at Geisinger will be there to support you and answer any questions or concerns you may have during the process.

You may qualify for this surgery if you have:

  • Been severely obese for at least 5 years
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40 or are more than 100 pounds overweight (Check your BMI score)
  • Must lose weight for medical reasons (diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea)
  • Have no substance abuse problems
  • Don’t suffer from psychosis, eating disorders, or uncontrolled depression
  • Have tried to lose weight without permanent success
  • Struggled with larger portions at mealtime

All candidates for sleeve gastrectomy are screened on an individual basis. Many insurance companies have their own requirements that must be met.

You will not be considered for sleeve gastrectomy surgery if:

  • You are unprepared to make lifestyle changes that will help them in their weight loss.
  • The risk of the surgery would outweigh any potential health benefits.
  • You have a severe psychological disorder.
  • You are unwilling to comply with our recommendations.

Long-term expectations

Initial weight loss after surgery can be quite dramatic, and then slows down after several months. Overall, weight loss generally continues for 12-18 months following the operation. Most people can expect to lose about 40% of their pre-surgery weight.  Metabolism, eating habits, and exercise will influence the weight loss results. 

After undergoing sleeve gastrectomy surgery, you will have to learn a new way of eating and practice choosing the right foods to help avoid discomfort and promote weight loss. Your new stomach will take 6-8 weeks to heal and form complete scar tissue.  You will need to stay on a mainly liquid diet for about 2 weeks, before adding soft solids. Four weeks after your surgery, you will be advanced to lean soft protein options. At 8 weeks, fruits, vegetables, and starches are added back into the diet.  Your surgeon and dietitian will tell you at your clinic visits when you can advance to the next stage of eating.  Do not make this decision on your own.

Medical problems associated with the obesity such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and arthritis symptoms are likely to improve. In most cases, this also reduces the amount of medications that a person needs.