How Does Sleeve Gastrectomy Work for Weight Loss?

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Researchers have found that since diet and exercise do not lead to sustained, substantial weight loss in many people, surgical approaches that induce weight loss may be the best treatment. These types of surgeries are sometimes referred to as bariatric surgeries. There are a number of different surgeries that have been developed that can successfully lead to weight loss, one of which is known as sleeve gastrectomy.

What is Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical procedure performed laparoscopically. Several tiny incisions are made and special instruments are introduced to surgically reduce the size of the stomach. The remaining stomach has been described as having the size and shape of a banana. Since the surgery is performed laparoscopically, the risk of serious complications or side effects is much less than in the past.

Weight Loss

The reduced size of the stomach limits the amount of food that can be consumed at each meal or snack. However, most of the weight loss seems to be due to hormonal changes caused by the surgery. Obese individuals have been found to have reduced levels of the hormones GLP-1 and PYY, which are secreted by the gut in response to food consumption and act on the brain to signal food has been consumed. The low levels of these hormones in obese individuals are thought to contribute to over-consumption of food, leading to weight gain. After sleeve gastrectomy, the levels of GLP-1 and PYY are dramatically increased in response to consuming food, reducing appetite. In addition to reducing appetite, these hormones also alter the release of other hormones throughout the body and their elevated levels post-surgery can reduce blood pressure and improve insulin resistance. So not only do patients eat less because they have a small stomach post-op, but they also want to eat less!


Ghrelin is another gastric hormone that is produced by gastric tissue. It increases appetite, increases intestinal mobility, and decreases insulin secretion by the pancreas, among other functions. Normally, ghrelin levels increase when an individual is hungry and then dramatically decrease after eating. However, in obese individuals, ghrelin levels only decrease slightly after eating. Individuals who lose weight due to dieting tend to experience dramatically increased levels of ghrelin, which is thought to stimulate appetite and induce weight re-gain. Since sleeve gastrectomy removes a significant amount of gastric tissue, ghrelin levels are permanently reduced at all times, reducing appetite and also reducing insulin resistance, sometimes leading to the complete resolution of type II diabetes.

In conclusion, sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical procedure that induces weight loss primarily by altering important hormones produced by the digestive tract that profoundly change appetite and how the body responds to food consumption. Contact Beltre Bariatrics, Center for Metabolic and Obesity Surgery today to schedule your consultation! We are conveniently located in Maitland, FL.

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