Gastric sleeve surgery

How the surgery is done

After you’ve been put to sleep with general anaesthetic, your surgeon accesses your stomach via 5 small incisions. They then reduce the size of your stomach by stapling along the length of it to form a long tube that looks like a banana. The rest of your stomach is then removed.

The surgery generally takes 1 – 2 hours. Average time off work is 2 – 4 weeks.

How it works

  1. Your new stomach pouch holds much less food than a normal stomach. This helps to reduce the amount of food (and calories) you can consume.
  2. The hormone that makes you feel hungry is produced in your stomach so reducing the size of your stomach reduces hunger pangs while increasing feelings of fullness.


  • the complication rate is lower than the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • short-term studies show that gastric sleeve surgery is as effective as the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in terms of weight loss and improvement in diabetes
  • you can expect to lose over 50% of excess weight after 3 ­– 5 years and over 50% of people manage to keep the weight off
  • you won't have a foreign objects in your body (unlike the adjustable gastric band), and no bypass or re-routing of the food stream (unlike Roux-en-Y gastric bypass)
  • you’ll have a relatively short hospital stay of around 2 days
  • it changes your gut hormones, suppressing hunger, reducing appetite and making you feel full.


  • the procedure isn’t reversible
  • the complication rate is higher than for the adjustable gastric band
  • it has the potential to cause long-term vitamin deficiencies
  • early complications include bleeding (1% – 6%) and leakage along the staple line (up to 5%)
  • later complications can include gastric reflux (47%) nutrient deficiency (up to 23%) stricture (3%) and abscess (less than 1%).


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.