Can a Gastric Sleeve Stomach Leak?

As obesity rates climb, more individuals are turning to surgical solutions like gastric sleeve surgery or sleeve gastrectomy to combat the health risks associated with excessive weight. Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, is gaining popularity due to its simplicity and effectiveness. However, one concern that may hover in candidates’ minds is safety, especially regarding potential complications like stomach leakage.

Safety in the Surgical Procedure

Gastric sleeve surgery has been refined over the years to enhance its safety and effectiveness. This procedure involves the removal of a substantial portion of the stomach, resulting in a smaller, sleeve-shaped stomach sealed with medical-grade titanium staples. These staples are specifically designed to withstand the body’s demands and the stomach’s acidic environment.

To further enhance safety, our surgeons use reinforcement buttressing to strengthen the staple line and a smart stapler calibrated to the patient’s stomach thickness for precise stapling. These measures ensure a perfect staple line and reduce the risk of leaks.

Our surgeons meticulously inspect the staple line to confirm its integrity, minimizing the possibility of leaks. In a retrospective review we published, we achieved a remarkable outcome with zero leaks, surpassing outcomes reported in existing literature.

Can a Gastric Sleeve Rip Open?

This is a question that can cause sleepless nights for many who have undergone or are considering the surgery. Although it is a possibility, the reality is that the chances of a staple line failing are exceedingly low. The special stapling devices utilized in surgery are designed to apply three rows of staggered titanium staples, which create a strong seal and support the stomach tissue as it heals. Using this technique, the rate of post-op leakage from the staple line sits between 1.4–2.5% for primary sleeve gastrectomies. Most issues, if any, tend to surface within the early days following the surgery when the body is in its initial healing phase. Even then, most such instances are readily managed with prompt medical attention.

How to Tell if You Have a Stomach Leak

While the occurrence of a stomach leak is highly uncommon, it’s essential to recognize the signs for prompt action. Look out for symptoms such as:

  • Sudden and persistent pain in the abdomen, possibly more intense than the typical post-surgery discomfort
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • General unwellness
  • Drainage from the surgical site

If any of these symptoms appear, it is imperative to contact your surgeon immediately or seek emergency medical care.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while a gastric sleeve stomach leak is possible, it is exceedingly rare, especially at our clinic. We adhere to stringent safety protocols and utilize state-of-the-art equipment during surgery to minimize potential risks. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities. If you have any concerns or want further reassurance, we encourage you to book a complimentary consultation with our experienced bariatric surgeons. Take the first step towards a healthier future today.

Discover how gastric sleeve surgery by our highly experienced Toronto surgeons has supported our patients on their weight-loss journey. Get in touch with us for more information on gastric sleeve or to book your free consultation.