Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is a weight-loss surgery performed laparoscopically (using small incisions) by inserting small, specialized instruments into the abdomen. The procedure removes approximately 80 percent of the stomach. This induces weight loss by reducing the amount of food a person can consume. Doctors believe that the patient's appetite is further reduced by a decrease in the release of hormones that cause hunger from the portion of the stomach that has been removed. The remaining stomach forms a "sleeve" approximately the size of a banana, giving the procedure its name. Sleeve gastrectomy is a permanent procedure and can't be reversed. The function of the stomach remains the same; only the size of the stomach is reduced. Performing the surgery laparoscopically reduces pain, supports a quicker recovery, and allows for a shorter hospital stay. Many patients are released from the hospital one to two days following surgery and can return to work as early as two weeks following surgery. Weight loss surgery is not a cosmetic procedure, and there is some degree of risk. Complications occur in approximately 5 percent of all bariatric surgeries. Patients are expected to follow a mandatory recovery diet and follow-up guidelines from the surgeon. 


Obesity is a medical problem that can have wide-ranging mental and physical effects on a person. If you or a loved one has struggled with obesity for some time and has tried unsuccessfully to combine a healthy diet with exercise to lose weight, UAB Medicine is the place to turn. Led by Richard Stahl, MD, and Jayleen Grams, MD, the bariatric surgery program at UAB Medicine has been performing weight-loss procedures for more than 30 years, and it is the first American College of Surgeons Level 1 Bariatric Surgery Center in Alabama. This history, combined with our standing as a respected academic medical center, puts UAB Medicine at the forefront of weight-loss surgery.

Complicated pre- and post-operative bariatric patients frequently are referred here, which gives us a unique perspective on weight-loss surgery, its risks, and its limitations. We do not view surgery as a quick fix for weight loss, nor should it be a patient’s first consideration when contemplating weight-loss methods. A multidisciplinary approach involving surgery, varied medical specialists, nutrition, psychology, and physical therapy is used in the evaluation and management of a patient’s obesity. An active and ongoing weight-loss support group meets regularly and is open to all patients, whether they have had surgery or are considering it.


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