What are the Long-term Results and Complications with the Sleeve Gastrectomy?

The weight loss associated with the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is about 70% of excess weight lost within 1 year. As with the gastric bypass and the Lap-band some weight regain is often realized in the second to fifth year out. However, unlike the gastric bypass and Lap-band, we don’t have long-term weight loss data available. Therefore, we don’t know if patients who undergo the sleeve gastrectomy will continue to regain weight at 10 or 15 years. But if weight regain becomes a problem, adding the gastric bypass as a second procedure is a suitable option, as the sleeve can be converted to a bypass with continued good weight loss.

The weight loss achieved with the sleeve gastrecomy will also lead to a remission or resolution of obesity-related medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and obstructive sleep apnea. It is very likely that the number of medications a patient takes will also be greatly reduced or may even be able to be stopped completely. And finally, for those with obstructive sleep apnea, about 60% of the time the need for the CPAP machine will go away.

Complications can occur with any operation and the sleeve gastrectomy is no exception. The incidence of a leak from the staple line is approximately 1% and suggests that what you drink or swallow will “leak” out of the stomach into the surrouding tissues and lead to infection. A leak would require a longer stay in the hsopital and a delay back to work, and may lead to another operation. The incidence of GERD associated with the sleeve gastrectomy ranges from 10-20%. It tends to come on quickly after surgery and may need to be treated with medication long-term. Rarely, this may require treatment with a conversion to a gastric bypass. If you have severe GERD, you may want to consider a different baraitric procedure such as the gastric bypass or Lap-band.

This concludes our update on the sleeve gastrectomy. Our next blog review will address weight loss operations for patients with a BMI of 30-35 with medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obstructive sleep apnea. Relief or resolutions from these diseases can be achieved with weight-loss surgery.

Please call our office if you would like to make an appointment (303-861-4505) or visit us on Facebook at Colorado Bariatric.

Dr. Tom Brown