Sleeve gastrectomy

A type of weight loss surgery that involves removing most of the stomach and converting the rest into a long thin tube.

About sleeve gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is an operation to reduce the size of the stomach. It is a type of weight loss (bariatric) surgery.

Your surgeon will do this by removing part of your stomach. The remaining part of the stomach is made into a long thin tube shape.

The new stomach is about a tenth of its original size. This restricts the amount of food you can eat, and means you feel fuller sooner, and for longer.

This type of surgery may be recommended if you have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.

If you have a sleeve gastrectomy, you will need to commit to long-term follow-up appointments to manage your nutrition and lifestyle.

How is a sleeve gastrectomy carried out?

This surgery is done under general anaesthetic (you'll be asleep) and takes around 40 minutes. You will need to stay overnight (sometimes two nights) in the hospital.

Sleeve gastrectomy is carried out using keyhole laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon makes several small cuts in your abdomen. They will carry out the operation using small surgical instruments and video images from a telescopic camera to guide them.

Your surgeon will create a narrow 'sleeve' by stapling your stomach vertically and removing the larger, curved part of the stomach.

Your surgeon will close the cuts in your abdomen using dissolvable stitches or small metal clips, and place a dressing over the cuts.

This operation can also be done using robotic surgery. You can discuss this option further with your surgeon during a consultation.

After a sleeve gastrectomy

After surgery, you'll be given pain relief medication to help relieve any discomfort.

About four hours after surgery, you'll be encouraged to get up and move around as much as possible.

If the cuts in your abdomen have been closed with clips, these will need to be removed about one week after your operation.

On the day of surgery, you'll be able to start slowly sipping liquids, such as water, coffee, milk, soups, tea.

You'll usually be able to go home one to two days after the operation. You'll need to arrange for someone to take you home by car as you won't be able to drive or take public transport.

Long term – along with adopting a healthier lifestyle – you will need to have blood tests once a year to ensure you are getting enough nutrients. You may also need to take some nutritional supplements such as a generic multivitamin and mineral preparation.

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Published: 29 January 2020 | Review: 29 January 2023

Disclaimer: This information is published by Cromwell Hospital and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence and experience from over 30 years of treating patients. It has been peer reviewed by Cromwell Hospital doctors. The content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. If you have any feedback on the content of this patient information document please email or telephone 020 7460 5901.