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Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Our team of experts is at the forefront of weight loss surgery. We will work with you to find the best weight loss procedure for your goals and needs. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is one of the surgery options we offer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Laparoscopic techniques use only a few tiny incisions (cuts), unlike traditional open surgery. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is considered a minimally invasive approach. This means it’s safer and you have a faster recovery time than if you had open surgery.

What is a sleeve gastrectomy?

In this procedure, surgeons remove the outer portion (also called crescent) of the stomach so that the new stomach looks like a narrow sleeve.

How does sleeve gastrectomy work?

Surgeons remove the portion of the stomach that makes a major appetite-regulating hormone called ghrelin. After surgery, the stomach is reduced to the size of a banana resulting in a much smaller stomach. You also have a change in hormone levels that leads to less hunger. As a result, you lose weight. Sleeve gastrectomy is the newest and most popular type of weight loss surgery.

What are the expected weight loss outcomes and other health benefits for a sleeve gastrectomy?

After treatment, you can expect to:

  • Lose about 25 percent of your pre-surgery weight, usually over the course of one year
  • Have more energy and move more easily
  • Have fewer weight-related health problems

What are the additional health benefits of a sleeve gastrectomy besides weight loss?

After surgery, improvements to weight-related health conditions are very common. These can include sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes among others. In some cases, these conditions may even resolve completely after weight loss surgery.

Am I a candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy?

You need to have a certain body mass index (BMI) to qualify for surgery. You may qualify for surgery if:

  • Your BMI is 40 or more. This means you’re about 100 pounds overweight.
  • Your BMI is 35 or more and you also have a qualifying medical condition (for example, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or sleep apnea).

Healthcare professionals use BMI to check your risk for weight-related diseases. BMI is based on a formula that considers your current weight and height. While it’s not a perfect method, it can be a useful health indicator for many people. To find out your BMI, you can use our BMI calculator. Even if you don’t qualify for bariatric surgery, we offer other weight loss options like endoscopic treatments and medically supervised treatments.

How do I improve and optimize my health before a sleeve gastrectomy?

We will work with you to help you make lifestyle changes before the surgery. You will have a few consultations with doctors leading up to the surgery. These include:

  • Consultations with a surgeon and physician assistant who review your medical history and helps you decide on the best procedure for you
  • A consultation with a psychologist who assesses your weight and emotional history, and helps you develop strategies for weight loss success
  • Consultations with a dietitian who offers a nutrition class, a nutrition assessment and a nutrition plan that fits your lifestyle

What is recovery like after a sleeve gastrectomy?

The operation takes about 60 minutes to perform and the hospital stay is 1 day. Patients usually return to work in 2 to 4 weeks. After the surgery, you will also need to take daily vitamin supplements. After surgery, you move through a staged meal plan which consists of:

  • Clear liquids, such as water and broth for 1 day
  • Protein drinks for the next 9 days
  • By day 11, smooth foods (such as yogurt and oatmeal) are included
  • By 3 weeks, soft foods (such as chicken, eggs and well-cooked vegetables) are included
  • By 7 weeks you should be able to eat most any food

Do you offer long-term weight management support?

Yes, we offer ongoing support to help you keep the weight off. Our comprehensive team—which includes surgeons, dietitians, psychologists, and physician assistants—helps support you to ensure you remain successful long after your surgery has been completed.

We offer:

  • Individual appointments with members of our team
  • Group meetings
  • Private online support forum for new and past patients
  • E-mail communication through Patient Gateway with your care team

How do I get started?

We currently offer two types of information sessions—a 13 minute online session, which can be taken on-demand, or a live session conducted virtually with a member of our surgical team. These sessions are offered in both English and Spanish. During these sessions, you'll hear about the details and benefits of each weight loss surgery and learn more about the program. For help finding a session, you can visit this page or contact us at 617-525-3597.

Which surgeons perform sleeve gastrectomy?

Ali Tavakkoli, MD
Chief, General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Scott Shikora, MD, FACS
Director, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (Dr. Shikora is no longer accepting new patients)

Neil D. Ghushe, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

Malcolm Kenneth Robinson, MD, FACS
Bariatric Surgeon

Eric G. Sheu, MD, PhD
Bariatric Surgeon

David Spector, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

Thomas C. Tsai, MD, MPH
Bariatric Surgeon

Ashley Haralson Vernon, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

How do I schedule an appointment to learn more about weight loss surgery options?

After you have viewed our info session online or attended a virtual information session, please call us at 617-525-3597 to schedule an initial evaluation to discuss treatment options.

I’m a doctor. How do I refer a patient?

Brigham and Women's offers experience, excellence, and patient-focused care. If you are interested in referring a patient, you can call 617-525-3597 for additional information or to register a patient for a free information session.

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