Gastric sleeve surgery success rate is over 90%+ of patients in various degrees.
Gastric sleeve surgery is a weight loss procedure in which the surgeon removes about 80% of the stomach, leaving only a small tube-like portion behind. It is the most popular form of weight-loss surgery performed today.
Success Rates of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, sleeve gastrectomy accounted for 61.1% of total bariatric surgeries in 2020, up from performed in 2019.
Up to 50% of sleeve gastrectomy patients regain a small amount of weight within 24 months after surgery. However, most people who undergo sleeve gastrectomy are able to keep their excess weight off over the long term.
There are multiple ways in which doctors and patients can measure the success of sleeve gastrectomy and we’ll discuss them in this article. We’ll also look at what you can do as a patient to improve the likelihood that your procedure will be successful.
Indicators of Gastric Sleeve Success Rates
There are several things that indicate gastric sleeve surgery has gone according to plan. These include the percentage of excess weight loss (%EWL), improvement in comorbidities, long-term weight regained, and improvement in quality of life. Let’s look at each of these.
Percent Excess Weight Loss
This measure is used to assess the outcome of all bariatric surgeries including sleeve gastrectomy. You can measure excess weight by subtracting your ideal weight from your actual weight before surgery.
As you start to lose weight, your weight loss is measured as a percentage of your excess body weight. If your excess body weight was 100 pounds and you lost 50 pounds, your %EWL would be 50%.
You may be wondering what is considered a good %EWL. A lot depends on when your results are measured and different studies arrive at somewhat different figures.
You’ll typically lose 55% to 60% of excess weight in the first year.
- For example, Fischer et al. carried out a literature search on 123 papers that covered 12,129 patients. They found that after 12 months, the average %EWL was 56.1%. At 24 and 36 months, the average %EWL was 64.3% and 66%, respectively.
- Meanwhile, 156 patients who had a mean preoperative body mass index (BMI) of 41.5kg/m2. The average percentage of excess weight loss was 82% at one year and 60.3% at five years.
- Meta review of various studies covering 46,000 people arrived at the %EWL was 59% at one year and 50% at six years.
All these studies show that individuals who undergo gastric sleeve surgery can achieve and maintain substantial weight loss over several years. This alone indicates this procedure is highly successful.
The various reductions in %EWL may be due to patients’ ability to maintain the correct diet and stay active after surgery.
Improvement in Comorbidities
Obesity leads to a variety of health conditions including:
- High blood pressure
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- High cholesterol
- Fatty liver disease
Therefore, another measure of gastric sleeve success is whether there’s an improvement in these conditions.
Relief of Many Symptoms After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Undergoing gastric sleeve surgery can lead to relief from symptoms or even remission in some cases. It can, therefore, be key in helping individuals to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
In a study after one year, 75% of patients recorded a complete resolution of diabetes mellitus. This was reflected in blood sugar levels that were below 120mg/dL after individuals stopped taking their diabetes medication.
The other patients showed significant improvement in their diabetes while one person was able to switch from insulin to anti-diabetic drugs. Meanwhile, 71.7% of hypertensive individuals saw an improvement or remission in their condition.
Also, those who had obstructive sleep apnea no longer need Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilation).
These researchers also reported another study in which high blood pressure was reduced in 75% of the patients and resolved in 58%. These results show that gastric sleeve surgery alleviates obesity-related conditions, thereby lowering cardiovascular risk and related mortality.
Weight Regained in The Long Term
The third way to determine whether gastric sleeve surgery was successful is to look at the amount of weight the patient regains over time. It is common for individuals to put on a few pounds after losing a tremendous amount of weight in the initial stages. However, in a successful case, the weight gain is minimal.
Patients recorded weight regain from about 5% two years post-op to 75% or more six years after surgery. They determined that putting on weight could be due to several factors including:
- The initial size of the sleeve
- Dilation of the sleeve (stretching of the sleeve)
- Increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone)
- Inadequate follow-up
- Maladaptive behaviors
Quality of Life Improvement
Gastric sleeve success may also be measured by how it affects the patient’s quality of life.
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is an effective and safe procedure, with positive changes in health-related quality of life as well as weight reduction.
This study administered two surveys to measure health-related quality of life in 78 patients undergoing laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy prior to surgery and then 12 months after.
Why Some Gastric Sleeve Surgeries Fail
As you can see, most gastric sleeve surgeries result in an outcome that’s satisfactory for both the patient and their medical team. However, some people get better results than others and there are a number of reasons for this.
- Differences in surgical practice. Each surgeon and facility uses slightly different methods. Even though the variations aren’t drastic, they can affect the results.
- Not following the doctor’s recommendations. The first week after surgery plays a major role in weight loss, healing, and the overall success of the gastric sleeve. It is important for patients to follow the recovery plan which will include a liquid diet followed by a gradual reintroduction of solid foods and a gradual return to physical activity.
- Returning to old eating habits. Some individuals get comfortable after they lose a significant amount of weight and they gradually start back eating in the way that led to their initial weight gain.
- Binge eating, eating large quantities, and grazing are all linked to weight regain since they can make the stomach larger over time. Getting to the root cause of these eating practices can prevent them from reoccurring.
- Not getting enough exercise. When patients don’t stick to their exercise plan, they tend to regain more of the weight they lost. Bariatric surgery needs to be accompanied by exercise for maximum results. This study found that postoperative exercise could lead to a marked increase in weight loss.
How You Can Increase the Likelihood That Your Surgery is Successful
You can improve the results of your gastric sleeve surgery if you take the right steps before and after surgery.
- Do your research and have your surgery performed by a reputable bariatric surgeon at a trusted facility
- Adhere to the surgeon’s recommendations as closely as possible from the moment you recover from anesthesia
- Avoid falling back into your old eating habits
- Seek mental health support to help you navigate the post-op changes, especially if you’re struggling with binge eating, eating large portions often, or grazing during the day.
- Moving around and getting into an exercise routine as soon as you’re cleared to do so.
The Bottom-line on Gastric Sleeve Success Rates
Sleeve gastrectomy is associated with a high success rate. Not only can it result in significant weight loss, but it can improve or resolve comorbidities, reduce mortality, and improve quality of life.
If you undergo bariatric surgery, you need to do everything you can to get the best possible results. This can be measured at regular intervals via percentage excess weight loss. However, the number on the scale isn’t the only thing you need to consider.
If you were previously diagnosed with obesity-related conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, you should also pay attention to these metrics. If your gastric sleeve surgery was successful, your condition is likely to improve or even be resolved entirely.
Your ability to regain only minimal weight as time goes on is also an indicator of success.
If you follow the advice we set out above, you can help to ensure that you get the best possible results from your procedure.
To learn more about gastric sleeve surgery and how it can help you to lose stubborn weight and improve your quality of life, contact Renew Bariatrics and talk to a member of our expert team