Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery: How it Works

Sleeve gastrectomy surgery, commonly referred to as gastric sleeve, is a restrictive weight loss procedure performed by making several tiny incisions in the upper abdomen. Small instruments – including a laparoscopic camera – are inserted through these tiny incisions into the abdomen.

Your surgeon will use a special stapling device to create a long, vertical sleeve stomach (similar to the shape of a banana) and the remainder of the “unused” stomach will be removed through your belly button. Once surgery is completed, the surgical instruments are removed and all incisions are closed.

Gastric sleeve surgery is designed to restrict food intake without interfering with the body’s normal digestive processes. Unlike gastric bypass, there is no cutting or rerouting of the small intestines. It is a restrictive procedure only, meaning there is no malabsorption of calories and/or nutrients.

Because your new “sleeve” stomach will be much smaller than your original stomach, the quantity of food eaten is greatly reduced and a feeling of satiety, fullness, is more readily obtained. Food begins digestion in the new “sleeve” stomach and passes on into the small intestines, where normal digestion then occurs.

The sleeve gastrectomy is considered a “low maintenance” type procedure in that no adjustments – as are made after insertion of the  gastric band—are required. Consequently, follow-up appointments with your surgeon are fewer than that of a band; however, due to the decreased capacity for eating food in the same volume as before surgery, follow-up with your surgeon is vitally important to achieve desired weight loss and to maintain appropriate levels of micro- nutrients.

Advantages of sleeve gastrectomy surgery include: 

  • typical weight loss of 2-4 pounds per week;
  • reduced capacity to eat large volumes of food;
  • no “dumping syndrome” as in the gastric bypass;
  • no band adjustments as with the gastric band;
  • fewer follow-up appointments than with the gastric band;
  • minimal impact on the anatomy (intestines are not affected);
  • low risk of complications;
  • procedure is done laparoscopically;
  • proven success;
  • typical recovery period of 7 to 14 days; and
  • normal digestion and absorption of food energy and nutrition.


Click here to watch the sleeve gastrectomy surgery animated video.

To make an appointment for sleeve gastrectomy consultation with an experienced Houston bariatric surgeon, call The Davis Clinic at (713) 486-1755.