My patients often want to know how much weight they can expect to lose after a sleeve gastrectomy. Everyone’s journey is unique, so the answer varies.
What is Sleeve Gastrectomy?
A sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure for weight loss in which a sizable portion of the stomach is removed in order to decrease the stomach’s overall capacity and change the hormonal response of the digestive tract to food intake.
Sleeve gastrectomy is widely regarded as an effective strategy for long-term weight loss, with an average loss of 60% to 70% of a patient’s excess body weight. It also has the potential to aid in the achievement of personal health-related objectives.
How is Successful Weight Loss Measured After Sleeve Gastrectomy?
It’s important to understand how surgeons evaluate “success” after the sleeve gastrectomy—or any weight loss procedure, for that matter.
Anything greater than a 50% excess body weight loss (EBWL) is considered a success. We calculate your excess weight based on how much you would weigh at your current height and a body mass index (BMI) of 25. Then, we subtract that number from your current weight.
For instance: let’s say you’re 5’ 6” and weigh 300 pounds. That puts your BMI at 48.4. If you had a BMI of 25 at 5’ 6”, you would weigh 155 pounds. By subtracting 155 pounds from 300 pounds, we determine that your excess weight is 145 pounds. That means we would expect you to lose a minimum of 72.5 pounds in response to a sleeve gastrectomy.
While 50% EBWL is what we would consider success, I would expect you to do even better than that.
What the Data Says
On average, patients who have undergone sleeve gastrectomy should anticipate losing between 60% and 70% of their extra body weight in the first year following the procedure—but this number can oftentimes be higher. 60% to 70% EBWL should be able to be maintained over the first 5 years following bariatric surgery, but since people tend to gain weight over time, it stands to reason that this weight loss tends to dwindle over the long term. Most studies put the average 10-year EBWL for the sleeve gastrectomy at around 50%, although one recent study placed it at 58%, and a different study showed an 11-year EBWL for the sleeve at 62.5%.
Of course, these figures represent an average of all patients. Your individual results may vary, based on age, medical problems, prior operations, medicines, and starting weight.
- Younger patients tend to lose more weight than older patients.
- The lower the BMI, the more EBWL one can expect (as compared to those with a higher BMI).
- Previous surgeries, such as a previous gastric band, may result in decreased EBWL.
- Certain medications can cause weight loss results to be diminished.
- According to the most recent research, gender seems to play little role in the amount of weight lost after a sleeve gastrectomy.
Keep in mind that success after sleeve gastrectomy is not formulaic: some patients may have more rapid weight loss than others, while others may experience a more gradual loss of weight. Some will enjoy greater total weight loss results than others, and some will maintain their weight loss for longer periods of time than others.
Even when other variables are working against you, the outcomes following a sleeve gastrectomy are generally significantly better than the results of trying to lose weight through diet, exercise, or behavior modification.
What Are the Other Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy?
One of the perks of sleeve gastrectomy is its ability to alleviate a variety of health conditions related to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These improvements are in addition to the physical benefits that come from losing weight.
Patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy have a dramatic rise in their quality of life. They commonly report having more energy and higher levels of self-esteem as a result of their procedure. Many studies have also shown that those who have undergone bariatric surgery live longer than comparable people who have not had bariatric surgery.
Talk to Your Surgeon About How Much Weight You’ll Lose After Sleeve Gastrectomy
It’s very important to have a conversation about your expectations with your bariatric surgeon. This is the best way to obtain realistic feedback about what your unique outcomes may look like.
It’s not unusual for my patients to have expectations that are entirely out of line with reality. For example, if you’re 200 pounds overweight, “success” means a 100-pound weight loss after a sleeve gastrectomy—so you still have 100 pounds to lose before you are at your ideal body weight. The majority of my patients are surprised to hear about the difficult journey that may be in front of them.
The important thing is to follow the instructions that your surgeon gives you. If you maintain a sensible diet and keep your activity level high, you can expect to be the best version of yourself that you can be.
If you’re thinking about having a sleeve gastrectomy, seek out an experienced bariatric surgeon. Look for a program that has robust diet and exercise counseling before and after your procedure. Your surgeon will perform a comprehensive medical evaluation, appropriate preoperative medical clearances, and other evaluations. Your intended results, current and prior health issues, medicines, and lifestyle choices will all be taken into consideration throughout this stage of the process.
To summarize, the weight loss you’ll experience as a result of sleeve gastrectomy will vary depending on a number of factors. The majority of patients can anticipate losing between 60% and 70% of their excess weight, as well as maintaining that weight loss within the first five years following surgery. For the best possible outcomes when trying to lose weight, it’s essential to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet.
If you’re considering having a sleeve gastrectomy procedure, you should first discuss your options with an experienced bariatric surgeon to determine whether or not the surgery is right for you. I encourage you to reach out to the specialists at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital. We would love to help you on your journey to better health.