You’re at home in Suffolk, and you can’t sleep. So you turn on the TV and start surfing through the channels. It doesn’t take long to realize late-night TV is loaded with hucksters pitching diet pills, supplements, and programs promising miracle-cures to weight loss. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that most weight loss supplements don’t work, and those that did produce results were dismal.

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight requires major changes to your diet, exercise habits, and lifestyle choices. If your health is at risk, it’s even more critical to lose weight and keep it off. Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery is a proven weight-reduction procedure that can help you lose weight, control hunger, and never go back to yo-yo dieting.

Overview of the Surgery

Eating supersized portions, snacking throughout the day, indulging late-night cravings, and skipping out on exercise can pack on the pounds and expand your stomach. To satisfy your hunger, eating like this quickly becomes a vicious cycle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A skilled surgeon can remove about 85 percent of your stomach by performing a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy designed to control hunger and promote long-term weight loss.

During surgery: You’ll receive general anesthesia to help you fall asleep and aid in pain management. Once the anesthesia takes effect, a small incision about an inch wide will be made inside your belly button. Medical instruments to perform the surgery will be  place in your abdomen through this opening. Your abdomen will be inflated with gas (carbon dioxide) to make room to perform the procedure. Using surgical staples, a large section of the stomach is removed, while the rest of the stomach is sealed off along the staple seam. The tools, imaging equipment, and excess stomach are removed, and the incision is closed with sutures. The entire process takes less than two hours.

Health Benefits

If you’ve struggled to lose weight on your own through diet and exercise, you’re not alone. About 69 percent of all adults in Suffolk and around the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fortunately, Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery is a highly effective weight loss procedure that helps control hunger, weight loss, and long-term weight management. In fact, a study published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, found that most Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy patients lose about 61.5 percent of their excess body fat in the first one to two years after surgery, and keep the weight off for five years or more.

Appetite suppression and long-term weight loss are the key benefits to Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy. However, research has found many other health benefits associated Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery such as:

  • Reduction in overall body fat and Body Mass Index
  • Improvement in blood glucose levels to help prevent or control type 2 diabetes
  • Lower blood pressure following weight loss
  • Elimination of sleep-related disorders like sleep apnea and snoring linked to obesity
  • Fewer issues with joint and muscle pain after losing weight
  • Reduction in cholesterol levels and risk for a heart attack or stroke

Minimally invasive – Before laparoscopic techniques were developed about 20 years ago, weight reduction surgeries were invasive procedures. Advancements in medicine and surgical techniques makes Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy a minimally-invasive procedure that can usually be completed through one small incision. It’s also a less complicated procedure than gastric bypass surgery, which involves resizing the stomach as well as rerouting the digestive tract.

Recovery Guidelines

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery can usually be completed in less than two hours. When you wake up, you may feel a bit groggy, which is a common reaction to general anesthesia. As a minimally-invasive surgery, you’ll only need to stay in the hospital 1 or 2 nights. Then you’ll be discharged with wound-care instructions for the incision site, which should heal in about a week. Most people take a week or two off following surgery, before resuming light activities.


When you leave the hospital, you’ll also receive information about changes you need to make to your diet. Every patient responds to Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery a bit different, but most heal from the surgery within a couple of weeks, and adjust to the new way of eating within a couple of months.

Risks Overview

If you’re overweight or obese, your risks for developing a chronic disease that could cut your life short are probably greater than risks associated with Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy. Any surgery comes with some risk such as infection, internal bleeding, or damage to internal organs during the procedure. Fortunately, these types of complications are rare. However, a recent study found some specific risks associated with Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy you should be aware of.

Leaking along staple line – When the large section of the stomach is removed, the smaller portion is sealed with surgical staples. There’s a 1.7 percent chance that a leak could develop along the staple line.  If your stomach develops a leak after surgery, you’ll need to see your surgeon again to close the seal.

Internal bleeding – A number of factors during surgery can lead to internal bleeding that requires immediate medical attention. There’s a 5 percent chance that internal bleeding may occur during surgery and require a blood transfusion to treat the problem.

Abdominal wall abscess – Less than 1 percent of patients develop an abscess on the stomach or abdominal wall after surgery. It’s rare, but it it does happen, typical treatment includes draining the abscess with a syringe and treating the infection with antibiotics.

Acid Reflux Disease – Formally known as gastroesophageal reflux, this condition may be one of the more recognized risks associated with Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. Research shows that there’s a 14.6 percent chance you could develop acid reflux disease after surgery. Fortunately changes to your diet and over-the-counter and prescription medicine can treat the problem.

Diet After Surgery

When you wake up from surgery, you’ll notice a change in your appetite right away. With as much as 85 percent of your stomach removed, you won’t be as hungry, and your stomach won’t be able to hold as much food as it once did. You’ll need to adjust your diet during the weeks and months after surgery.

Weeks 1-2 – In the beginning, the only food you should have is clear liquids like water, chicken or vegetable broth, and unsweetened juice.

Weeks 3-4 – Once you’ve cleared the first few weeks post-surgery and adjusted to a liquid-only diet, you can try pureed foods. Check out what’s available on the baby food aisle. Try yogurt, or puree your own cooked fruits and vegetables in a blender. You may even try protein shakes at this point.

Weeks 5-6 – After the first month on a liquid-only diet and pureed foods, you can introduce soft foods to your diet. Make some scrambled eggs. Try stew with cooked vegetables and chopped meat. Try grilled or baked fish and canned fruits and vegetables.

You can expect adjusting to your new diet to require some trial and error. However, most patients figure out the right balance for portion sizes and meal frequency by about 8 weeks after Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery.

Support Following Surgery

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery is permanent, and it’s a highly successful weight reduction surgery. But to achieve maximal weight loss, you need support from your healthcare team.

You’ll meet with your doctor 1 to 2 weeks after surgery to evaluate your progress during the initial recovery period. You’ll talk about your diet, resolve any concerns, develop an exercise plan, schedule a follow-up procedure if necessary, and begin tracking your weight loss. After that, most patients meet with their doctor quarterly during the first year.

Obesity doesn’t have to weigh you down any longer. If you’re ready for a change that will help control your appetite, lose weight, and improve your health, contact the New York Bariatric Group office in Suffolk.