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Gastric Sleeve Information


Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a newer form of weight loss surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon removes about 85 percent of your stomach, and the remaining portion is shaped like a sleeve, resembling a tube or banana.


Like any bariatric surgery, the gastric sleeve procedure has pros and cons which are important to consider before committing to getting the procedure. The ultimate benefit of having gastric sleeve surgery is that it can help you achieve your weight loss goals.


  • Decreased hunger because of the reduced stomach volume.
  • Lower risk than gastric bypass surgery, because there is no rerouting of the intestines during gastric sleeve surgery.
  • No foreign objects implanted in body, such as the lap band. This eliminates the risk of a band slipping, eroding, or causing an infection.
  • The hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, is removed when 85% of the stomach is sectioned off.
  • Stomach continues to function normally.
  • You can still eat the same foods, only in smaller portions.
  • Surgery performed through small incisions, leaving few scars.
  • Simpler procedure than gastric bypass, with fewer complications.


  • Unlike the LAP-BAND procedure, the gastric sleeve is non-reversible.
  • Post-surgery complications, such as leakage at the staple site, may occur.
  • Gastric sleeve has no effect on liquid intake, so high-calorie beverages should be avoided.
  • As the newest form of bariatric surgery, there are no long-term statistics available.
  • Weight may be regained gradually if you do not adhere to your diet, as the newly-formed stomach may stretch.
  • Some insurance providers do not offer coverage for the procedure, because it is newer and less data is available regarding long-term success.
  • You may need to have a second bariatric surgery, called the duodenal switch, in order to reach your weight loss goals. This is called a “staged” approach to weight loss surgery, and it is used to reduce the risk than if the two surgical procedures had been combined in the first surgery. The duodenal switch involves rerouting the intestines after the size of the stomach has been reduced, and is the most complex weight loss surgery with the highest complication rate.


The gastric sleeve procedure irreversibly changes the anatomy by removing a large portion of the stomach, whereas the LAP-BAND is an adjustable, removable band which divides the stomach into a tiny pouch and the remaining portion below. The LAP-BAND procedure takes approximately 25 minutes to perform, whereas the gastric sleeve procedure takes about an hour to finish. Patients can usually be discharged the same day as their surgery after getting the LAP-BAND, but gastric sleeve patients typically spend one or two nights at the hospital for monitoring. Recovery is a quicker process for LAP-BAND patients, but with either procedure, there will be a period of adjustment and healing lasting about a week before normal activities can be resumed.

Both the LAP-BAND and gastric sleeve surgeries have risks, and 9% of LAP-BAND patients suffer from complications, whereas 22% of gastric sleeve patients have complications. The risk of major complications for LAP-BAND patients is 0.2%, and 1.9% for gastric sleeve patients. The risk of death from either procedure is low, but it is still much higher for the gastric sleeve procedure, at 0.39%, while the risk of death from the LAP-BAND surgery is 0.05%.

If complications occur, they are generally less worrisome for LAP-BAND patients, and require minor revisional surgeries for the more common risks, such as band slippage or access port problems. Complications associated with the gastric sleeve procedure generally result in more serious problems which require major revisional surgery, such as leaking along the staple line.

The LAP-BAND is a less invasive surgery which leaves the digestive system intact and has a low risk of malnutrition, since nutrients are still absorbed in the same way after surgery. Gastric sleeve may be safer than gastric bypass and is an appropriate procedure for extremely obese patients. Another key benefit to the gastric sleeve procedure is the fact that the hunger hormone ghrelin is eliminated. Generally, patients will lose weight more quickly after the gastric sleeve procedure than the LAP-BAND procedure.

Some of the disadvantages of the LAP-BAND in comparison to gastric sleeve include having a medical device implanted during the LAP-BAND procedure, which may cause complications, such as band slippage or erosion. The access port attached to the LAP-BAND device may leak, as well, which requires a minor revisional surgery. Patients may not see the LAP-BAND surgery as an attractive option if they do not wish to go to extensive follow up appointments to adjust or fill their LAP-BAND device. These LAP-BAND adjustments involve inflating or deflating the band, making it tighter or looser depending on their weight loss goals. Weight loss is more gradual with the LAP-BAND, as well, and patients may lose less weight overall than those who opt for a more invasive procedure.

Disadvantages of the gastric sleeve procedure include the fact that it is a permanent, irreversible procedure, and the stomach may stretch if you are not self-disciplined with your diet, resulting in weight gain. Something else to consider is that the gastric sleeve procedure has limited data regarding long-term benefits, because it is a newer.

If you are interested in learning more about Gastric Sleeve Surgery, as well as other weight loss options available in Los Angeles, please call our offices at 855-690-0560.