How you prepare
In the weeks leading up to your surgery, you may be required to start a physical activity program and to stop any tobacco use.
Right before your procedure, you may have restrictions on eating and drinking and which medications you can take.
Now is a good time to plan ahead for your recovery after surgery. For instance, arrange for help at home if you think you'll need it.
What you can expect
Sleeve gastrectomy is done in the hospital. Depending on your recovery, your hospital stay may last one to two nights.
During the procedure
The specifics of your surgery depend on your individual situation and the hospital's or doctor's practices. Some sleeve gastrectomies are done with traditional large (open) incisions in the abdomen. But sleeve gastrectomy is typically performed laparoscopically, which involves inserting small instruments through multiple small incisions in the upper abdomen.
You are given general anesthesia before your surgery begins. Anesthesia is medicine that keeps you asleep and comfortable during surgery.
To perform a sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon creates a narrow sleeve by stapling the stomach vertically and removing the larger, curved part of the stomach.
Surgery usually takes one to two hours. After surgery, you awaken in a recovery room, where medical staff monitors you for any complications.
After the procedure
After sleeve gastrectomy, your diet begins with sugar-free, noncarbonated liquids for the first seven days, then progresses to pureed foods for three weeks, and finally to regular foods approximately four weeks after your surgery. You will be required to take a multivitamin twice a day, a calcium supplement once a day, and a vitamin B-12 injection once a month for life.
You'll have frequent medical checkups to monitor your health in the first several months after weight-loss surgery. You may need laboratory testing, bloodwork and various exams.
You may experience changes as your body reacts to the rapid weight loss in the first three to six months after sleeve gastrectomy, including:
- Body aches
- Feeling tired, as if you have the flu
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin
- Hair thinning and hair loss
- Mood changes