Are you considering gastric sleeve surgery because you’ve tried diets and exercise for years and still have a lot of weight to lose? You’ll want to know the risks and benefits, what makes someone a good candidate for the operation, and what long-term commitments you need to make to keep the results.

In this operation, surgeons remove part of your stomach and join the remaining portions together to make a new banana-sized stomach or “sleeve.” With just a small sack (about 1/10th the size of your original stomach), you’ll feel full a lot quicker than you did before. You won’t be able to eat as much as you used to, which helps you lose weight. Plus, the surgery removes the part of your stomach that makes a hormone that boosts your appetite.


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What does gastric sleeve surgery entail?

Gastric sleeve surgery is almost always done as a minimally invasive procedure using a laparoscope. This means a long, thin tube is inserted into your abdomen through several small incisions. This tube has a light and a tiny camera attached to it as well as various instruments. Gastric sleeve surgery is done using general anesthesia, which is medicine that puts you into a very deep sleep and requires a ventilator to breathe for you during the surgery.

The surgery entails dividing your stomach into two unequal parts. About 80 percent of the outer curved part of your stomach is cut away and removed. The edges of the remaining 20 percent are then stapled or sutured together. This creates a banana-shaped stomach that’s only about 25 percent of its original size. You’ll be in the operating room for about an hour. Once the surgery is complete, you’ll be moved to the recovery room for postoperative care. You’ll be in the recovery room for another hour or so while you wake up from the anesthesia.

The small incisions in your abdomen typically heal quickly. The minimally invasive nature of the surgery helps you recover faster than a procedure where your abdomen is opened with a larger incision. Unless there are complications, you should be able to go home within 2 or 3 days after the surgery.

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