gastric sleeve FAQs
Gastric sleeve surgery
is one of our most popular weight loss surgery options at Birmingham Minimally Invasive. There are many benefits and reasons to choose this surgery, including the fact that it is often a cost-effective choice. It’s also a low-risk procedure with a high success rate. 

But every person is different, and there are many factors that go into our recommendations about which surgery is right for you. We are always happy to answer any and every question you may have, and we hear a lot of them. In this article, we have compiled some of the questions we hear most often about gastric sleeve surgery. See if your question is here, and if not, contact us!

Gastric Sleeve Surgery FAQs

From the specifics of the surgery itself, to recovery and everything in between, here are common questions and answers. 

What exactly happens during the gastric sleeve procedure?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a laparoscopic bariatric procedure that reconfigures the stomach into a sleeve-like shape. In doing so, we remove a part of the stomach responsible for producing ghrelin, the hormone that tells your brain when you’re hungry. The surgery also restricts the size of the stomach, making it much harder to eat large portions of food. These two factors combine to help you lose weight.

Are there any risks to gastric sleeve?

Overall, gastric sleeve surgery is a very safe procedure. Our surgeon, Dr. Jay Long, has performed the surgery many, many times. While it is a minimally invasive procedure, it is a significant surgery, which will always carry some risk, such as internal bleeding and infection.

How much does gastric sleeve surgery cost?

Gastric sleeve surgery is considered one of the less invasive weight loss procedures. It requires less time to perform the surgery and a shorter hospital stay in most cases. This allows us to offer it at a lower price than some other weight-loss surgeries. See specific pricing information here

Will my insurance cover the surgery?

Your insurance may cover the surgery, but if it does, there are typically very strict requirements to qualify even though the procedure is medically indicated. This often includes a lengthy physician-supervised diet that usually lasts anywhere from 3-12 months. By paying out of pocket, you avoid all of these strict requirements that insurance companies create. You can start the journey towards a healthier life much more quickly.

How long does it take to recover?

Because we remove a large portion of your stomach, it will take some time to recover. Exactly how long it takes you to get back to normal will depend on many factors, including your starting weight and what type of job you have. However, the important thing to understand here is that we perform gastric sleeve surgery laparoscopically. This avoids the need for large abdominal incisions and results in less pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery. When you compare it to other options, such as gastric bypass, surgery and recovery time are typically shorter.

How much weight will I lose?

Of course, this varies and depends on many factors. But depending on your pre-operative weight, you can expect to lose between 40 to 70% of your excess body weight in the first year after gastric sleeve surgery. Additionally, many obesity-related problems improve or resolve after the procedure. This may include diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, abnormal cholesterol levels, and more. 

What will I be able to eat after the surgery? 

You will be required to follow a strict post-op eating plan that will look similar to what’s outlined below. Going through this diet plan while letting your body adjust is an extremely important part of recovery. 

  • Stage one: liquids — right after surgery
  • Stage two: protein-rich liquids— a few days after surgery
  • Stage three: pureed soft foods — approximately two weeks after surgery
  • Stage four: solid foods — approximately four weeks after surgery

How else will my eating habits have to change?

The reality is that you will not be able to go back to your old eating habits, including eating unhealthy foods and eating too much. We will recommend that you eat small portions so your body can absorb more of the nutrients in the food while also allowing you to feel full. You will need to eat slowly and drink only between meals. Liquids take up space in your stomach and make you feel full. When having a meal, you need this space for food to provide your body with important vitamins and nutrients. Drinking during non-meal times is often very helpful.

What happens if I eat too much after having the surgery?

Since it is a restrictive procedure, overeating after surgery can lead to severe abdominal pain and cramps. With overeating, you may also experience vomiting or diarrhea. To avoid this, our professionals at BMI Surgery will work with you along the way as much as possible. You will have a diet plan and all the tools and information you need to be successful. It will be a challenge in the beginning, but as time goes on, our patients typically get into a really good groove of knowing what to eat, what their body needs, and how to accomplish their goals. 

Is it possible I will regain the weight?

While we do not consider gastric sleeve to be a reversible procedure, in some patients, the stomach tube or “sleeve” may stretch over time leading to late weight regain. If you do experience this, we have the option to perform a second stage operation known as a duodenal switch or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

Is Gastric Sleeve Your Answer for Weight Loss?

This is not a question you can answer on your own. If you are ready to seriously look into it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Long. He, along with our team of professionals, will help you consider all the options and find the right one.

Find out more about the gastric sleeve surgery and other weight loss options at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery.

The caring group of professionals at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery will help you get started on your weight loss journey and stay with you every step along the way. Dr. Long and his team specialize in all types of bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass, and the LAP-BAND. Visit us today at or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.