Qualifying for Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Sleeve

Other common names of gastric sleeve procedure are “sleeve gastrectomy”, “the sleeve”, or “vertical sleeve gastrectomy”. It is the most popular weight loss procedure among patients to date and is the most frequently performed bariatric surgery. It is similar to the gastric band surgery in a way that it is a restrictive procedure.

In sleeve gastrectomy surgery 80% of the stomach is removed making it a truly permanent procedure. The remaining 20% resembles a banana, tube or sleeve like shape. The small stomach size translates into small food consumption, much less calories and weight loss. A very important role with appetite reduction is by the removal of most of the stomach creating a significant reduction in the hunger hormone ghrelin. By reducing ghrelin levels, a person’s hunger is much less and this allows them to be satisfied with a much smaller amount of food.

There is no implant placed during gastric sleeve like with the gastric band surgery and no re-routing of intestines like with the gastric bypass.

With the gastric sleeve, the digestive anatomy remains exactly the same with the exception of a narrow stomach size. When early fullness occurs, less food and calories are consumed and weight loss occurs.

Gastric Sleeve Procedure Animation

How is Sleeve Gastrectomy Performed?

In most cases this surgery is performed by laparoscopy or robotically. A surgeon makes small incisions in patient’s abdomen in order to access the organs and perform the operation. The recovery after laparoscopic surgery is quick and well tolerated.

Advantages of Gastric Sleeve

  • No foreign body or implanted devices so erosion and slippage are not a risk
  • Does not require adjustment
  • No cutting of the intestines
  • Weight loss generally is faster than with gastric banding
  • The surgical risk is lower than with gastric bypass, but the weight loss is similar

Disadvantages of Gastric Sleeve

  • Because part of the stomach is removed the sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible
  • Complications are slightly higher than with the band and include leaking, bleeding, and inadequate weight loss
Gastric Sleeve

Risks and Complications

All procedures generally carry some level of complications risks. With sleeve gastrectomy short term complications can include: bleeding, infection, reactions to anesthesia, and staple like leaking. Long terms problems can include nutrition deficiency, sagging skin, reflux, gallstones.


How much weight will a patient lose?

On average, patients that undergo sleeve gastrectomy may lose about 75% of their excess weight within the first year.

Who qualifies for a gastric sleeve?

These are general guidelines for health insurance coverage:

  • You are more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight OR
  • You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40 OR
  • You have a BMI of over 35 and have comorbidities, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight

It is possible to qualify with BMI lower than 35 when paying out of pocket. However, a patient must understand that this procedure will be performed for cosmetic reasons rather than treatment of comorbidity.

Read more about qualifying for bariatric surgery.

How long is gastric sleeve procedure?

On average it will take Dr. Wizman around 30 minutes to perform sleeve gastrectomy.