Category: Post Surgery

what is gastric sleeve surgery

Top 5 Gastric Sleeve Surgery Complications

gastric sleeve complicationsObesity is said to be a silent killer because it poses increased risk for tons of co-morbidities like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypercholesterolemia.

Gastric sleeve surgery is relatively new amongst the lineup of approved weight loss surgical procedures but it has already raked in a lot of positive reviews from patients and medical practitioners alike. This is said to produce around 60% of rapid weight loss in the first year after having undergone surgery. This is proven to be a safe and effective weight loss procedure alongside gastric bypass and Lap Band.

Weight loss surgeries such as the Gastric Sleeve carry some risks and complications alongside the benefits of a slimmer and healthier body.

Check out the top 5 gastric sleeve surgery complications:

  1. Deep Vein Thrombosis. Blood clots can happen right after any surgical operation. This is likely to happen with impaired blood flow due to lack of mobility. Signs and symptoms of thrombosis would include loss of sensation, pain, swelling, redness, paleness, and paralysis. This is very alarming because it could trigger heart attack, stroke, and could even lead to death. It is advisable to stop smoking and also to remain physically active right after surgery.
  2. Staple Line Leaks. This could happen at the first week after surgery. Physicians would often take precautionary measures and double check on the staple line with gastric sleeve surgery to avoid leakage. There is a minimal risk or around 2.4% probability that staple lines would occur postoperatively but still needs caution. If the patient experiences dyspnea, increased heart rate, and fever – call 911 right away.
  3. Stricture. This pertains to the inflammation of the stomach lining and opening which restricts food passage. Common signs and symptoms to watch out for are the following: nausea, vomiting, food intolerance, and difficulty in swallowing. Strictures can be serious but when detected shortly after surgery, this can be treated effectively rest, intravenous fluids, and nothing by mouth.
  4. Surgical Site Infection. If the patient is obese, this poses increased risk of wound site infection. This is considered to be the most common gastric sleeve surgery complication which happens in relatively 10% to 15% of most cases postoperatively. If you observe redness and heat at the surgical site, fever, dizziness, or increased hear rate – call your doctor immediately for treatment to avoid necrosis and further complications.
  5. Gallstones. This is also a common complication seen in Gastric Sleeve patients which occur in 23% of most cases usually within two years postoperatively. Most patients who have developed gallstones would exhibit signs and symptoms such as vomiting, pain, nausea, bloating, and heartburn. A surgical operation could follow with the development of gallstones to avoid severity of complications.

Gastric Sleeve surgery is considered to be the safest weight loss procedure today because it has the lower reoperation and complication rates as compared to other surgical methods for trimming off extra pounds. Complications can happen at any point during or after surgery and it is best to take heed of the signs and symptoms of complications to know when to seek medical help.


How to Deal with Loose Skin after Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As you add up in years, the skin loses its elasticity. You would notice sagging or loose skin especially after having undergone gastric sleeve surgery. This is albeit normal because of the weight loss experienced post-operatively. This also means that the surgery was effective and you have lost a considerable amount of weight even on a short notice. Depending on your age at the time of surgery, your skin may not be that elastic enough to respond well with the weight loss happening after going under the knife and thus result to loose skin.

Here’s what you can do to deal with sagging or loose skin after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Build more muscles by being actively involved in a regular workout or exercise program that works specifically on problem areas of the body like in the stomach, under the arms, and buttocks. Tone and tighten your muscles by engaging in resistance or weight training and weightlifting. Try squat exercises for the lower body, lunges for the upper thigh, planks for the stomach, bicep curls for the arms, and crunches for the abs.
  • Be patient. As doctors would say – experiencing loose skin is normal and is even a positive indication that you are losing weight all at the right places. If you want to correct the sagging skin by surgery, you will have to wait for 12 months before you can get a surgical remedy to improve loose skin. You should allow ample time for your body to recover and stabilize. By that time, the skin could have possibly tightened up on its own and would not warrant any surgical intervention.
  • Use salt scrubs. This is said to be very effective in improving skin elasticity after gastric sleeve surgery. You can use sea salt scrubs or any other variety of salt scrubs in the market. Indulge in a salt scrub at least twice every day while you are in the shower and see how it transforms your sagging skin quite effectively. Scientists believe that the use of salt scrubs improves and increases blood flow; which in turn helps tighten and make the skin firmer.
  • Massage Therapy. Pamper yourself by having a deep and invigorating massage therapy which does not just tighten up the skin but also helps you relax and de-stress after long hours of work.
  • In order to achieve a healthy, glowing, and firm skin, you need to drink lots of water. Avoid drinking too much caffeine or soda which can be dehydrating. You need to keep up with your required water consumption in order to achieve an elastic skin even after gastric sleeve surgery.
  • Full or Partial Body Lift. Consult your doctor if you would require or need a full or partial body lift to help improve the condition of your sagging skin. Weigh your options together with your physician to determine what would work for your body needs.
  • Practice Yoga. Focus on your core by doing yoga every day or at least thrice a week. Yoga helps eliminate stress and help with your flexibility which in turn improves the appearance of your loose skin.
  • Fruits and Veggies. It is recommended to eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day to improve skin elasticity and keep you well-nourished. Fruits and veggies have high water content which keeps your skin well-hydrated in the process.
  • Tummy tuck or other forms of corrective surgery can be considered if the sagging or excess skin does not improve even after six months or longer. Consult your physician for recommendations on surgical interventions that would fit your health condition.

Knowing what to expect after having gastric sleeve surgery would help you deal effectively with the upshots. The above tips would greatly benefit not just the appearance of sagging skin brought about by weight loss but also improve your overall health.

what is gastric sleeve surgery

Average Weight Loss After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The sleeve has been considered the best weight loss option there is as compared to fad products in the marketplace. Gastric sleeve surgery tops the list of obese patients mainly because it does not require any long-term maintenance as compared to the laparoscopic band. From 2010 up to the present year, gastric sleeves have been very in-demand among obese patients who are looking for the easy route to that well-coveted hourglass figure.

Going under the knife is, more often than not, regarded as the last resort when it comes to weight loss options. Many people are confident though with gastric sleeve surgery because this is known to be at least 99% effective in trimming down excess fat – which is a good number to begin with.


Not everyone is qualified to undergo bariatric surgery. You must be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the surgery or this might not work as planned. The following are specific requirements that must be strictly met to determine if you are eligible for gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Extremely obese individuals are those who have a BMI greater than 35 to 40. If you belong to this category, then you prequalify to undergo gastric sleeve surgery.
  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • Must have no underlying medical condition that potentially causes your being obese.
  • Must be free from any gastroesophageal diseases.

The human stomach is shaped like a pouch which can hold around 2 to 3 liters of food. Gastric sleeve surgery makes use of a stapling technique or device which leaves only 10% of the stomach as 90% is removed to form a vertical sleeve which can hold only around 50 to 150ml of food contents – this means you get to eat in smaller portions and yet completely enjoy the dining experience. Although the stomach has been reduced in size, it still functions normally or in the same way as before.

The gastric sleeve surgical procedure enables you to crave for less food without affecting enjoyment for gastronomic grubs. Here are the involved methodological processes that allow you to lose weight with the sleeve procedure:

  • Controls hunger. The sleeve does not just limit the stomach’s capacity but it also reduces appetite as it also affects a person’s biochemical response to food. As such, you will no longer feel hunger pangs in between meals.
  • Shifts to healthy food options. Patients choose to eat healthy as the stomach triggers reduced cravings for fatty- and sugary-rich food choices that usually cause weight gain.
  • Encourages you to eat in small portions. You are able to curb your cravings and prevent overeating because you feel full even with small servings. This proves to be economical too while you get to splurge on the nutritional benefits of a well-planned diet program suited for those who have undergone gastric sleeve surgery. You will have to undergo phases of feedings to allow your gut to heal completely.

What is the average weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery?

Nonsurgical weight loss options will only give you 10% satisfactory results as compared to going under the sleeve surgery wherein patients are guaranteed to lose an average of 65% to 70% of their excess body weight. It would be motivating to note that a number of patients have seen around 100% weight loss following specific lifestyle and nutrition modifications along with the sleeve surgery.

Advantages of the Sleeve:

  • You get to lose weight effectively. The main purpose of going under the gastric sleeve surgery is to be able to lose the weight and keep it off – the procedure is a certified brand in itself. You will lose weight of around 65% to 70% on average as compared to other bariatric surgical procedures that could render less optimal results.
  • Experience fewer complications as compared to other surgical procedures. This is considered to be the most popular bariatric surgical procedure because it poses less to null risks while going under the knife and postoperatively. You can be discharged from the hospital in a matter of 2 days.
  • Requires few doctor visits. The sleeve does not require full-length monitoring because it has less potential health risks postoperatively as compared to the gastric bypass and other similar procedures. This would only require a few appointments with your physician which is usually limited to the first few months following surgery.
  • This effectively manages obesity-related health problems. Some gastrointestinal illnesses related to obesity are found to improve or go into remission such as diabetes mellitus in patients.

Disadvantages of the Sleeve:

  • Potential weight gain. There is very little possibility that a patient can gain weight after some time following the sleeve surgery. There are relatively very few insignificant weight gain accounts with patients who have had gastric sleeve surgery. They only get to gain a few pounds but do not revert to previous weight unlike gastric bypass patients who tend to gain their old weight and even add up some excess pounds on the weighing scale.
  • Potential leak from staple line. The first two weeks after sleeve operation is crucial to recovery. If there are any leaks, it would be much visible at this point. Leaks from the staple line is considerably rare or only around 1% of all cases but it still pays to be extra attentive and careful especially during the first few weeks after the gastric sleeve surgery.

The gastric sleeve surgery is regarded to the most popular bariatric surgery in Australia and the United States because it has fewer health risks, faster recovery rate, and generates effective weight loss results.

Most people prefer the sleeve operation than other bariatric forms of surgical procedure because it is fairly predictable, poses less health risks, most effective in losing weight, and improves other obesity-related health problems.

This is a keyhole operation which means patients require less pain management, fewer visits to the doctor, and speedy recovery rate as compared to other invasive types of surgery which is definitely a cost-effective weight loss treatment that will provide immediate results.


Joint Health Before and After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

According to a study in Arthritis Care and Research, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis were on the rise, along with other diseases. In just 5 years, the diagnoses of those joint diseases increased by 34%. Hospitalizations of patients with those diseases also increased, by 22%. The study concludes there is a high possibility that these are linked to obesity.

Obesity-Related Joint Diseases


Between joints, which are where two bones meet, are cushions of cartilage. These cushions are the “shock absorbers” of the body. Osteoarthritis occurs when these cushions become worn out over time. It is an inevitable result of aging. However, certain conditions can cause early osteoarthritis through over-stress of the cartilage. Obesity is one of these. The added weight of a person puts more stress on the cartilage, wearing it out faster.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning your immune system mistakes your healthy cells for foreign ones, and attacks them. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, swelling around the area, and of course also pain in using those joints. It was found that those who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 and above were more at-risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The body’s fat-storing (adipose) cells are a factor in autoimmunity.


Gout is caused by uric acid building up as crystals in the joints, due to too much uric acid in the body. This uric acid, a result of the body breaking down purines in certain kinds of fish and in beer and wine, usually passes through urine. However, obese people may have a high buildup of uric acid which the liver and kidneys can no longer keep up with. In certain people, the uric acid will crystallize and cause swelling and pain around the joints.

The Effect of Gastric Sleeve Surgery on Joint Health

There are some cases in which proper diet and exercise can no longer cope with obesity. Joint disease is one of those cases. Attempting the normal forms of exercise, even light jogging or walking, may cause joint injuries you cannot fully recover from. Remember, using your joints increases the body weight being placed on them.

For example, consider your standing body weight as the normal body weight. When you walk on a straight path, you are placing 1 and ½ times your body weight on your joints. Just getting out of your chair can put 2 and ½ times your body weight on your joints. The more strenuous the exercise, the worse the effect on your joints.


Gastric sleeve surgery causes an average weight loss of 30% from your full BMI. Just 5% weight loss causes an 18% improvement in joint disease symptoms. In your pursuit of a life of health, gastric sleeve surgery is a great first step. It not only clears the way for effective dieting by reducing the stomach size, but also lowers the risks to your joints as you begin to exercise.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: A Way to Joint Health

Joints do age and become less healthy over time. However, no one wants their joints to become difficult to use before it is time for them to stop. For an energized lifestyle that stretches as long as you can manage it, gastric sleeve surgery is one way to reduce wear and tear on the joints, and increase your chances of doing what you want to do in life.

Long story short, gastric sleeve joint health is a major reason to have gastric sleeve surgery.

what is gastric sleeve surgery

Gastric Sleeve Recovery

The day you wake up from gastric sleeve surgery is day one of your new life. How well your new life goes is mostly up to you, but you will not be able to prepare for it unless you know what is expected of you after surgery. First, remember: you will lose weight, and you will recover–it is only a matter of time. Do not lose hope during the recovery period.

What Kind of Pain Should I Expect During Gastric Sleeve Recovery?

You should not wake up from surgery with too much pain. There should still be quite a bit of anesthesia in your system, enough for you to wake groggy but with only dull pain. However, as the anesthesia wears off, the more throbbing pains will start.

The pain should be localized where the surgical incisions were made. The largest incision is most likely the main cause of pain, so move carefully for the first few days. If you have pain anywhere else–back, shoulders–tell your surgeon. This pain is irregular.

Should I Follow The Prescribed Diet Strictly During Gastric Sleeve Recovery?

Yes. Follow the diet your surgeon and-or dietician set you. This is not only so that you lose more weight (which you definitely will if you follow this). The diet also protects you from any complications after gastric sleeve surgery.

The number one danger you are guarding against, after surgery, is the risk of gastric leak. Gastric leak happens when the staples holding the cut in the stomach together are overstrained, and let stomach acid into the rest of the body. Heavy foods put your stomach at risk of gastric leak if you do not give it time to heal.

Is Exercise Important During Gastric Sleeve Recovery?

Exercise is extremely important. You are even encouraged to walk around your hospital room the day you wake up from surgery. The movement reduces pain in the long run, because it helps your body heal much faster.

Exercise also grabs the momentum your gastric sleeve surgery gives you, and runs away with it. Since you will already be on a diet, exercise will help you burn calories faster, heal faster, and reach your weight loss goals much sooner. The sense of accomplishment after every finished exercise also gives you encouragement for everything else.

Would A Support Group Help Me During Gastric Sleeve Recovery?

A support group, whether online or in-person, would definitely be a great help to you. Your first line of defense should, of course, be your family and friends. Ask them to accompany you to doctor’s appointments and seminars, be open to them about your emotions, and keep them involved in your life.

The second line of defense is a support group made of people who have gone through the same surgery. A group moderated by a health professional specializing in weight loss surgery is perfect if you need a space in which to ask questions and air problems freely.

Gastric Sleeve Recovery: The Beginning of New Life

Gastric sleeve surgery can be one of the best decisions you have ever made. It will definitely give you a headstart at the new life you are planning for yourself. The weeks after surgery, however, are sometimes the worst. All the changes may cause mood swings and emotional imbalance. Use the instructions on exercise and diet as a lifeline, and just keep going. Great results are inevitable.