Gastric Sleeve Surgery - 14 Ways It Will Affect You

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Gastric sleeve surgery (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) removes about 80% of the stomach. As a result, patients:

  • Feel less hungry
  • Feel full sooner after eating
  • Lose up to 75% of their excess weight
  • Improve or cure their obesity-related health problems


  1. How the Gastric Sleeve Works
  2. Weight Loss
  3. Health Benefits
  4. How to Qualify
  5. Insurance
  6. Cost Without Insurance
  7. Preparing for Surgery
  8. Recovery
  9. Diet & Life After
  10. Risks & Downsides
  11. How Does Gastric Sleeve Compare to Other Weight Loss Procedures?
  12. Summary: 7 Steps to Long-Term Weight Loss
  13. Quiz: Test Your Sleeve Knowledge
  14. Patient Community & Expert Advice
  15. Find a Top Surgeon

If you’re brand new to bariatric surgery, we recommend starting on our Bariatric Surgery for Beginners page.

If you’re already familiar with the basics, read the sections below for everything you need to know about the vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure.


How the Gastric Sleeve Works

  • Procedure reduces stomach size by 80%

  • Patient feels full sooner while eating due to smaller stomach

  • Patient feels less hungry because smaller stomach secretes fewer hunger-causing hormones

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

During surgery, your surgeon will make between 1 and 5 small incisions in your abdomen (which minimizes gastric sleeve scars), insert various laparoscopic instruments, and remove about 80% of your stomach. This leaves a banana-shaped “sleeve” that connects the esophagus to the small intestines. [Some surgeons will then reinforce the staple line.]

Your much smaller stomach will cause you feel full sooner and result in long-term weight loss. It is done laparoscopically in one to two hours.

The gastric sleeve procedure is done for patients of all ages, from children to the elderly.

How Gastric Sleeve was “Discovered”

Gastric sleeve started as the first step in the two-step duodenal switch (DS) procedure. DS surgeons saw impressive weight loss and health improvement before performing the second step. This caused them to test gastric sleeve as its own procedure.


Weight Loss

  • Up to 70% of excess weight within 1 year


Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Weight loss happens fast after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Month 3: About 33% of excess weight is gone
  • Month 6: About half of excess weight is gone
  • Month 12: Up to 70% of excess weight is gone

Most patients reach a plateau around the one to two year mark. Patients who eat and exercise right are usually able to keep the weight off or lose even more.

But many patients let their dedication slip and regain some weight. This is due to the stomach stretching over time, which is usually caused by overeating.

By 5 years after surgery, the average patient has kept off over half of their excess weight. Successful patients avoid weight regain by:

  • Working closely with their surgeon’s dietitian or nutritionist
  • Using a personal trainer
  • Attending in-person or online support groups at least twice per month
  • Keeping a food journal
  • Having the support of family and friends
  • Maintaining motivation and dedication

For more information, see our page on Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss.

See our Gastric Sleeve Before and After page for pictures of other gastric sleeve patients, including women, men, and celebrities.


Health Benefits

  • Cures or improves diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and at least 12 other conditions

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve results in complete “resolution” (cure, as long as weight loss is maintained) of many obesity-related health problems, including those listed below.

Note that patients who have a strict follow-up schedule with their surgeon at 3-, 6-, and 12-months post-op see greater improvements in or remission of their diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol than patients who skip these visits (1).

  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • Cholesterol problems
  • and at least 10 other conditions

Patients who aren’t cured usually experience a noticeable improvement.

Gastric sleeve weight loss improves joint health. For every pound of weight lost, there is a 4 pound reduction in pressure on the knee (2). This improves mobility and reduces pain in the knees.

88,000 participants were involved in data collection on cancer research. Results state that patients who undergo weight loss surgery have 33% less risk of developing cancer (3).

Risk rates were even further reduced for obesity-related cancers, including (4):

  • Colon cancer
  • Postmenopausal breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

For the full list of health issues cured or improved by gastric sleeve surgery, see the Health Benefits section of our Gastric Sleeve Results page.


How to Qualify

  • 30+ body mass index (BMI) required

  • If BMI under 40, must have at least one obesity-related health problem

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

You could be a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery if:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, OR
  • Your BMI is between 30 and 39.9 and you have a serious obesity-related health problem Serious obesity-related health problems most commonly include:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Many others (see Health Benefits section above)

Use the BMI Calculator below to determine your body mass index.

If you do not meet one of the above two BMI requirements, you still might qualify for one other less invasive procedure: the Gastric Balloon. See our Gastric Balloon Patient Guide for more information.



  • Gastric sleeve is covered if your insurance policy includes bariatric surgery

Gastric Sleeve: Test Your Knowledge

Well-educated patients are more likely to be successful over the long-term. Test your knowledge to ensure that you’re ready to take the next step!

YOUR GOAL: Try to answer at least 11 out of 12 questions correctly

Take the Gastric Sleeve Quiz

Patient Community & Expert Advice

  • Ask the expert

  • Patient experiences

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Questions From Other Visitors*

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My Experience After Gastric Sleeve Surgery*

I am 3 years post gastric sleeve surgery. I lost 62 kilos (137 lbs) in the first 10 months (weighed 124 kilos - 273 lbs - prior to surgery). I…

6 Mo. After Gastric Sleeve: Warnings & Successes*

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I had the gastric sleeve done 9/8/15 and the second day post op I started getting hungry. The hunger pains I'm experiencing are some of the worst I've ever experienced.…

How Fast Will I Lose Weight After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?*

Hi! I have my gastric sleeve surgery coming up in a couple weeks and am trying to prepare for how fast I will be losing weight after my procedure. I…

Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Help!*

Hi, I had the gastric sleeve surgery 2 years ago this March. First year, dropped weight like a rock. It was fantastic. I kept to the diet and exercise instructions…

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Hi, 23 years ago I had my stomach stapling. In the beginning it was a great success. Unfortunately, in 2001 I had to have some of the staples removed as…

Weight Loss Surgery for Patient with Ulcerative Colitis*

Is it safe to have weight loss surgery (gastric sleeve in my case) if I have ulcerative colitis?I just had AAA repair surgery one month ago for colon ischemia.Is it…

Taking Appetite Suppressants Before Bariatric Surgery*

Can I take a prescription or over the counter appetite suppressant before bariatric surgery?I'm scheduled to have gastric sleeve surgery in 10 days and want to make sure that it's…

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I had my lap band for 7 years, Starting weight 222 ending weight 129 I'm 5'4". In July of 2014 I had to have it removed due to slippage and…

Pre-Op Concerns for Gastric Sleeve Patient*

I am scheduled to have gastric sleeve surgery. I have great confidence in my surgeon and that he will make the procedure as safe as he can. However, I am…

Is Gastric Sleeve The Best Weight Loss Surgery For Pregnancy?*

Dear LS Free House, I have been enjoying your site so far, thank you for all the info (it really helps!). But, I was hoping to find a little more…

Worried About Excess Skin After Gastric Sleeve*

I'm 18 years old, weigh between 250-260 pounds, and am 5'4 1/2 (BMI of 44). I'm so scared the I will have severe excess skin and still feel ugly even…

Gastric Sleeve Effect on Lazy Bowel Syndrome*

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Can I Drink Alcohol After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?*

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Find a Top Surgeon

Search the gastric sleeve surgeon directory below, click a listing, and contact the surgeon to:

  • Ask for a free insurance check or cost quote
  • Register to attend a free seminar or webinar
  • Schedule a phone or in-person consultation (both often free)