Gastric sleeve surgery, also referred to as sleeve gastrectomy, is a weight loss procedure that involves the removal of a significant portion of the stomach to create a smaller, banana-shaped pouch. This procedure aims to restrict the amount of food consumed, leading to weight loss. The surgery is considered a safe and effective option for drastic weight loss, but certain misconceptions surround it. One common misconception is whether stretching the stomach to its original size after gastric sleeve surgery is possible.
Can Your Stomach Stretch After Gastric Sleeve?
About 80% of the stomach is removed during the gastric sleeve surgery, resulting in a smaller stomach pouch. This pouch has a reduced capacity to hold food, which limits the amount you can eat at each meal. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, where the stomach is bypassed altogether, gastric sleeve surgery only reduces the stomach size without rerouting the intestines.
The stomach pouch that remains after the surgery is not as stretchable as the original stomach. Removing a large portion of the stomach removes most of the stretchability and elasticity that allows the stomach to expand. As a result, your stomach can’t stretch back to its original size. However, as part of digestion, your stomach is designed to accommodate some stretching. Therefore, constantly overeating in the long term can increase the risk of permanent mild stomach stretching.
Surgical Technique and Stomach Stretching
The technique used by the surgeon can also play a role in stomach stretching. During gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon creates a stomach pouch by cutting, stapling and removing the stomach. The precision and accuracy of the stapling technique can affect the size and shape of the stomach pouch. If the stapling is not done correctly, it can result in a larger stomach pouch than intended, allowing for more food intake and an increased risk of stomach stretching.
At 360 Sleeve, our surgeons have mastered the technique required to create an optimal stomach pouch size, which can minimize the risk of excessive stomach stretching and ensure long-term weight loss success.
5 Tips for Maintaining Long-Term Success After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Although permanent stomach stretching doesn’t happen overnight, adhering to specific guidelines is essential to avoid its occurrence. Here are five valuable tips to support you in attaining and maintaining your weight loss objectives:
- Follow a balanced and nutritious diet: Focus on nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your meals.
- Practice portion control: Even though your stomach is smaller after surgery, it is still crucial to practice portion control. Use smaller plates and bowls to visually trick your mind into thinking you are eating more.
- Chew your food thoroughly: Take the time to chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly. Not only will this aid digestion, but it will also give your brain time to register fullness.
- Stay hydrated: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Avoid drinking liquid with meals, as it can quickly fill your stomach.
- Engage in regular physical activity: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to help maintain weight loss and improve overall health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Lastly, enjoy food and don’t be afraid of it. Food is not your enemy; you can still eat almost anything in moderation. Focus on making progress rather than being perfect. It is okay to fall off track occasionally; don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track. Motivation and determination are crucial to keeping your weight off.
In conclusion, although you can’t stretch your stomach back to its original size after gastric sleeve surgery, you can experience mild permanent stomach stretching if you consistently overeat. However, the risk is reduced significantly with the proper surgical technique combined with healthy habits post-surgery. Remember, following a balanced diet, practicing portion control, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are crucial to ensure your long-term success following gastric sleeve surgery.
Ready to start your weight loss journey? We can help. Our highly experienced Toronto gastric sleeve surgery specialists and knowledgeable care team are ready to support you – book your free consultation today.