How much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve? How do you keep it off?

A common question we know many patients have, is the expected volume and durability of weight loss following their procedure. In short, the answer to “How much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve?” is different for everyone. However, given the popularity of this surgery, there have been several studies completed on weight loss after gastric sleeve, and we can look to those for answers on what would be a reasonable expectation after your surgery. We also look at what other factors help with long term weight loss after surgery.

How much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve?

This is the number one question with our patients, and there is no definitive answer. There are many factors which determine your weight loss outcomes after a sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Nonetheless, we can tell you using computer algorithms based on international data, the amount of weight a typical patient could lose after the surgery.

There have been several reviews completed on long term SG results. A comprehensive 2016 analysis, Long-term results after sleeve gastrectomy: A systematic review reported that the mean percentage of excess weight lost at five years post-surgery was 58.4%. At eleven years post-surgery, the mean was 62.5%. This parallels earlier analyses such as the 2014 Review of long-term weight loss results after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and is also in line with what we see occurring at a grass-roots level with patients in our clinic.

What if I don’t lose weight after the operation?

The SG involves removing about two thirds or more, of your stomach. This means that for most patients, you will lose some weight in the short term, because you will simply be unable to eat the same proportions of food you did before. More importantly, there are hormonal changes which occur in the stomach after weight loss surgery which can benefit your metabolism.

In some people, surgery alone can prompt quick and sustainable weight loss, in others it is a slower process. The important thing to remember, is that any weight loss is going to have long term health benefits for you. The 2017 review showed that SG also leads to improvement in obesity related co-morbidities:

Five years after SG, the resolution or improvement of type 2 diabetes was observed in 77.8% of patients, and arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and degenerative joint diseases had improved or resolved in 68.0%, 65.9%, 75.8%, 30.6%, and 55.7% of patients, respectively.

We encourage you to align your goals with health benefits, rather than solely focusing on your appearance. (You can read more about this approach in an article on the Obesity Action Coalition website). You may not end up with a bikini body (some people do!), but you will have a body which is going to keep you well in the years ahead, and this is much more important.

How do you keep the weight off after SG?

There are several factors which come into play in determining how successful you are with your weight loss long term, which you can control. These include:

  • Follow up bariatric care. Follow-up care is an important part of durable weight loss. We see patients in the days, weeks, months and years post-op in a customised schedule. We believe this support provides a better level of accountability and we can also ensure overall health is maintained.
  • G.P. contact. Your G.P. can also help to monitor your nutritional status, your weight and any co-morbid diseases you may have had prior to surgery. It’s great if you can keep a dialogue going with your referring G.P. What’s even better, is if your surgeon and G.P. can form a great team to keep you on track towards your goals.
  • A success mindset. This is vitally important for long term success. When patients are ready and focused for success, then they tend to do all the things they need to to reach and sustain their weight loss goals. Changing your habits of mind and committing to your own success is really the missing link to ensuring you keep the weight off for good. This is the reason we strongly recommend seeing our psychologist and making them part of your weight loss team. They have the expertise to provide you with tools for mental success.
  • Allied health support. To assist you in developing a new mindset, it’s a great idea to assemble a group of specialists to guide you. It is mandatory to see a dietitian before and after your surgery. We also recommend consulting an exercise specialist or physio and a psychologist. The level of care you undertake is up to you and your needs, but a check-in with these specialists at periodic intervals is always beneficial. If they are specialists in bariatric care, then you know their advice is going to be up to date and beneficial.

So how much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve? If you are vigilant, you may lose around sixty percent of your original excess weight. Will this happen for every patient? No, it won’t. What gives you the greatest chance of success? Forming health allies, developing a great mindset and realising that surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ but is a path to wellness that you will need to walk for life.

Understand More About the Sleeve Gastrectomy

Find out more information on this surgery, and watch a short video explaining how the procedure takes place.

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