Benefits & Risks Of Gastric Sleeve

Just like any other surgical procedure, the gastric sleeve has a set of benefits and risks. At your initial consultation, you will be evaluated for your risk to determine if a gastric sleeve is suitable for you. Dr. Chang will weigh the benefits and risks and discuss these things with you. The goal is to help you make an informed decision about whether gastric sleeve is right for you. We want to know what you think… some patients specifically ask for gastric sleeve and others may want to consider gastric bypass or LAP-BAND. We encourage you to ask about all the procedures and to educate yourself about the entire process.

While it is a major surgical procedure, complication rates (including death rates) from gastric sleeve have been dropping steadily. This can be attributed in part to improvements in surgical techniques and technology. The ultimate goal is to maximize benefits and minimize risk.

When choosing a surgeon, patients should consider experience as an important criterion. The surgeon’s experience can contribute to improved outcomes and fewer complications. Dr. Chang is a Center Of Excellence® certified surgeon who has completed not only a 5-year surgery training program but also a 1 year fellowship dedicated to laparoscopic surgery.

The benefits of the gastric sleeve are many

  • Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea may completely resolve with many patients seeing results in just days or weeks. Other patients may not have complete “cure” of these problems but they will usually experience dramatic improvements.
  • Exceptional long-term weight loss is possible with gastric sleeve. The sleeve can provide up to 70 to 80% excess body weight loss, which is much greater than any commercial diet. Patients can lose ALL their excess weight if they are very diligent about proper eating and exercise. However, Dr. Chang will assess your progress when you follow up after surgery.
  • No medical device is implanted in the abdomen as is done during the gastric banding procedure.
  • The small intestine is not modified in any way as it is in gastric bypass surgery.
  • Nutritional deficiencies are less likely to occur (vs. gastric bypass) and patients should be able to get most of their nutrition from eating healthy balanced meals.
  • Removal of part of the stomach reduces hunger. The part of the stomach that produces the hunger hormone ghrelin, is removed.

The risks of the gastric sleeve must also be considered

  • The risks of the gastric sleeve range from minor to significant, many of which are the same risks associated with any surgical procedure – risk of blood loss, pain, infection, and in rare cases, death.
  • If the staple line created during surgery begins to leak, the patient may need to undergo immediate surgery to correct the problem.
  • Weight loss may not be quite as great as with the gastric bypass.
  • The procedure cannot be reversed, although it can be revised.
  • Patients will likely have to supplement their diet with vitamins.
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