Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Gastric sleeve surgery

3 min read

Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, is surgery for weight loss that involves removal of a large part of your stomach. After the surgery, you will feel full after eating a small amount of food.

You might also feel less hungry because your smaller stomach will produce lower levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which causes hunger.

When should I consider gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve is a form of bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, and you should only consider gastric sleeve surgery after trying alternatives.

The first step is usually to try changes to your food intake and your daily activity and exercise. There are also some medications that can help people lose weight. Surgery is usually thought about only after these other options have been tried.

Losing weight after gastric sleeve surgery can help reduce problems with type 2 diabetes, asthma episodes and blood pressure, and can help improve heart health.

How do I prepare for gastric sleeve surgery?

You are likely to need different tests to make sure that gastric sleeve surgery is right for you.

Your doctor will advise you about any changes you need to make to medications and your diet in the weeks or days before surgery. And you will need to stop eating and drinking the night before you have the surgery.

What happens during gastric sleeve surgery?

The keyhole surgery is done while you are under a general anaesthetic.

Your surgeon will use a stapling device to create a small tube or 'sleeve' in your stomach, then remove the rest of your stomach.

After surgery, your stomach will hold only about a tenth of what it did before.

illustration of a gastric sleeve
During gastric sleeve surgery, a large part of the stomach is removed

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the surgery, you'll start with liquid foods. Over the next few weeks you will change to pureed food, then to solid food. Your meals will be much smaller and you may have to stop drinking with meals due to your small stomach.

You will need to make significant lifestyle changes after bariatric surgery to lose weight and keep it off. For example, you'll get nutritional advice from a dietitian on how to change your eating habits to keep healthy while losing weight.

Your meals will be much smaller than before. And you'll probably take vitamins or other supplements for life.

You will also have to, and be able to, increase the amount of physical activity you do.

What can go wrong?

This is usually a safe procedure. Sometimes people can have bleeding or leakage of fluid from the stomach.

You might find that the sleeve expands over time, causing you to regain some of the lost weight.

Talk to your doctor about the risks of the procedure.

More information

Visit our guide to bariatric surgery to learn more about the different types of bariatric procedure.

Also, be sure to ask your doctor any questions you might have about gastric sleeve surgery.

Last reviewed: February 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 4 results

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy involves reducing the size of your stomach to a short tube shape (see figure 1). It works by making you feel full sooner so that you eat less.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Laparoscopic gastric bypass

A gastric bypass (also called Roux-en-Y) involves stapling your stomach to create a smaller stomach ‘pouch’ and then bypassing the rest of your stomach and part of your bowel (see figure 1). It works by making you feel full sooner so that you eat less, and by preventing some of the calories and nutrients in your food from being absorbed.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Laparoscopy - keyhole surgery

Laparoscopy is a procedure that can be used to investigate and treat a variety of conditions. It involves using a telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope to view the inside of the abdomen and/or pelvis.

Read more on myDr website

Obesity management (weight loss) information video | myVMC

Obesity management refers to weight loss strategies for overweight people and includes calorie controlled diets, exercise programs, medications and surgery.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo