Sleeve Gastrectomy - Long term results (> 5 years)

on 7/14/12 12:44 am - Sweden
Me and my partner at scheduled to make a Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery later on this year. This surgery is only performed at 2 private clinics in Sweden where we live. All other clinics and hospitals do Gastric Bypass and some even Duodenal Switch.

The Sleeve Gastrectomy is a quite new method here in Sweden. The first ones were made 4 years ago, which means that long term results are not available. As this is a quite new type of procedure in Sweden, a lot of surgeons and clinics are very very negative towards this method and don't recommend it at all. A lot of, in my opinion, faulty information is spread, such as:
- Weight loss will be lower with Sleeve compared to Gastric Bypass
- Much easier, or for certain, that you gain all weight back with Sleeve, but not with Gastric Bypass
- The sleeve can be stretched easily and therefore you can eat more and gain weight
- No long term results available for Sleeve surgeries, but most likely a not effective surgery in long term.

Our surgeon at the private clinic where we have signed in said that this method is used in the USA for a much longer time than here in Sweden.

So I would like to hear from anyone at this forum who had this surgery done more than 5 years ago. How is it going? Have you been able to keep your weight loss? Have you experienced any problems or complications due to the surgery?

Thanks a lot in advance.

on 7/14/12 1:06 am - TN
 You are correct in that what you have been told is incorrect.

THe sleeve has been around for quite a long time.  First in use as a treatment for stomach cancer, and other stomach issues.  Next it was used as the first stage in the duodenal switch operation.  That is how the sleeve came to be used as a stand alone WLS.  Surgeons noted that patients lost the weight they needed at a good pace with just the sleeve - and didn't need the malabsorptive portion of the procedure.

Weight loss is not necessarily slower with the sleeve than with bypass.  I have lost 150 lbs in 7 months.  Look at some of the other vets on here.  As with any endeavour - you only get out of the surgery the effort you put into it.  Again, look at some of the users on here.  You will see that some post about continually making bad food choices and then complain that their weight loss is too slow or that they aren't losing.

A popular axiom is that the surgeons operate on our stomachs, not our heads.  Its very true.

Weight loss is notguaranteed with the bypass.   That is a popular myth that is often prtrayed.  There is a woman I met early on who was transferring to my clinic.  She had her surgeon tell her she could eat anything she wanted and still lose weight.  She ate ice cream and candy bars and wondered why she only lost 10 lbs.  Again, you only get out of any of these surgeries what you put into them.

Second popular axiom - The surgery is only a tool - it is not a cure for obesity.

As far as the sleeve stretching, yes and no.  You can stretch your sleeve.  You will never stretch it back out to the size of a normal stomach.  The portion of the stomach left is not very elastic.  Trust me, the first time you give yourself the foamies you will learn that the hard way.  People who are determined to not work out their head issues and do the real hard work of weight loss will find a way to eat around their sleeve.  They will either eat the wrong foods, sliders and the like, they will eat too many times a day, they will over eat.

The best thing to do is to develop new lifestyle choices early on and hold oneself accountable.  Measure your portions and only eat planned meals.  Avoud snacking and grazing.  Frisco has many posts on here about undereating your sleeve - look some of those up.

The sleeve is a fantastic surgery that has helped me turn my life around.  Note I said helped me - I did the work, the sleeve was a major tool in that work.

Bets of luck to you and your partner.  Post on here often, ask any questions.  This site can be a terrific help to you, it continues to be for me.

 160 lbs lost. Surgeons Goal Reached in 33 weeks.  My Goal in 37 Weeks.

VSG: 11/2/2011; LBL+Thigh Lift+BL: 10/3/2012; Brach+Mastopexy:  7/22/2013

on 7/14/12 3:00 am - Waialua, HI
VSG on 05/30/12
You are an amazing man your posts are full of inspiration and very helpful info thx
on 7/14/12 4:04 am
yeah, what he said
Pre-liquid diet 392; VSG'd on 6/10/11; 5'9"; SW 368/ GW 195?
Pounds lost: mth1=26.7; mth 2=21.2; mth 3=24.8; mth 4=13.8; mth 5=14.2;  
            mth 6=11.8; mth 7=9.2; mth 8&9= 17.2    
on 7/14/12 9:22 am

I getting ready for the VSG and need to loose 150 pounds as well. How did you manage to loose 150 in 7 months? 


on 7/14/12 9:29 am - TN
 I was very strict on my diet and exercise routine.  I complied with surgeons program to the letter.  I focused on my mental issues with food and tried to learn as much as I could about both my condition and myself.  I log every bite that goes into my mouth and hold myself accountable.

Its really that simple.  You have to be committed to using the tool and your honeymoon period to focus on fixing yourself.  Many people will tell you to take "the long view" and build the habits of a lifetime during the first few months.  I would tell you spend those months working on the issues from your past life, and use the tools from there to work on building your new lifestyle habits.

I am about to enter maintenance and am actually stepping up my psychological tools to make sure that I am armed to deal with the transition and the long term.

 160 lbs lost. Surgeons Goal Reached in 33 weeks.  My Goal in 37 Weeks.

VSG: 11/2/2011; LBL+Thigh Lift+BL: 10/3/2012; Brach+Mastopexy:  7/22/2013

on 5/2/14 8:08 pm

I had the sleeve over a year and a half ago and I love it.  Everything this person said is true.  I am a nurse and I was inspired to do the surgery by a co worker who had it and looked absolutely stunning! However her long term results were totally opposite from mine.  After I had my surgery she began to sabotage her surgery by eating continually and eating all the wrong things, like chips and cokes.  She lived on these and did not eat anything healthy just sugar, sugar, sugar!  She regained her weight and more and at the two year mark looked horrible.  By then I had already had my surgery and I'm glad I did not see her do thus before or I might have discounted the surgery and not had it.  But for me it is the best thing that I could have done.

I DO eat the right things and I do not eat through my sleeve, eating three small meals a day.  I have lost 61 lbs because I was right at the 30% mark  and did not need to loose all that much.  I am in my 60s and it remains to be seen if it has extended my life, but my quality of life is much better and my self esteem much improved.  My high blood pressure and high cholesterol are gone. 

My obsession with food is gone! I still like food but I am not  obsessed with it.   I have a bit of gastric reflux, but I have ways to deal with it, without the pills, which are not good for you anyway.  And the reflux is not all the time anyway. 

It was a known fact  that my co worker had mental problems, so she should have never had the surgery in the first place. So bottom line is, if you have these psychological  problems, get them fixed first and it will work for you.  If on the other hand you just love food and eat too much, but are otherwise mentally stable and happy, go for it and put your all into making it work for you.

on 7/30/14 1:11 am

Hi Rhearob, Since you posted 2 years ago and I saw you also had some plastic surgeries I would like to  know how you are still doing with the gastric sleeve ? And how do you feel about the plastic surgery did your scars heal well and how do they look ? I am looking into GAstric sleeve surgery and expect to also need some loose skin procedures afterwards. Would appreciate some feed back. =) 

on 7/14/12 1:33 am
All rhearob said :)

I am a four year vet, not five, but pretty far out compared to many here on the boards.  I can tell you that from my personal experience, you wield the power.  You need to establish new habits and stick to them.  After a while, they become second nature, and you will feel strange eating differently.  I had a medical emergency a month ago, needed emergency surgery and ended up losing 10 additional pounds, which was NOT what I wanted.  I have struggled putting the weight back on because I had to eat foods that I have avoided for four years.  I have accustomed myself to eat only until I feel a slight pressure in my stomach, so forcing myself to eat more has been difficult as well.

I appreciate not having to worry about malabsorption.  I have always felt that the sleeve was MY best option.  I have a friends who are approaching 7 years from her sleeve surgery and she is now struggling with some mild weight gain, but because she never developed new eating habits.  She used to think that I worried too much about sticking to my plan, but now she acknowledges that I did the right thing and wants to get her head in gear now.  As with anyone, whether you had any surgery or none, you will gain weight if you don'****ch what you eat.  The sleeve was the tool I needed to get my weight under control.

Good luck on your decision!
on 7/14/12 1:34 am, edited 7/14/12 1:36 am - New Orleans, LA
VSG on 03/21/12
I Had a VSG in March this year.I have lost over 100 lbs since the procedure. I eat very small amounts of food because I feel so full, so quick. I personally don't think I would be able to stretch out my sleeve. Once I'm full, thats it. My stomach will not accept anymore food.
I do try to stay away from most carbs and stick to a high protein diet, which has become a second nature to me. Proteins fill me up pretty fast and I have no complaints about it. Infact I LOVE IT!!!!
" Time,indeed is a sacred gift, and each day is a little life"