Expected Monthly Weight Loss With the Gastric Sleeve

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A woman is standing on a scale. (Image: Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you have had a weight-loss procedure called sleeve gastrectomy or are considering having it done, it is important to know that weight loss results vary from person to person. And, while your doctor can estimate the amount of weight you are likely to lose altogether, you can expect to lose more weight during the first few months and less as you get closer to your target weight. Your individual monthly weight loss will depend on factors such as age, gender, starting weight and how well you follow diet and exercise recommendations.

Reported as a Percentage

Your excess body weight is the difference between your ideal weight and your current weight. So, if you weigh 100 lbs more than your ideal weight, your excess weight is 100 lbs. In this example, if you lost 50 percent of your excess weight -- or 50 lbs -- over the 12 to 18 months after the surgery, that would be a reasonable result. Some people lose less, while others lose more than 70 percent of their excess weight, according to findings published in the July 2013 issue of the journal "SpringerPlus." Losing 100 percent of your excess, however, is unlikely.

Weight Loss by Month

Since weight loss is reported as a percentage, the number of pounds you shed per month depends on where you started. It also depends on the time since surgery. Findings in the October-December 2013 issue of the "Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons" suggested that people having sleeve gastrectomy lost more of their excess weight in the first few months after surgery. In this study of 100 patients, on average, subjects lost about 18 percent of their excess weight in the first month. Average weight loss by the end of 6 months was 50 percent of the excess body weight, and by the end of the first year, they had lost about 63 percent of their excess weight.

Factors Affecting Weight Loss

The amount of weight lost after gastric sleeve depends on several factors. An important factor is how well you follows your doctors' instructions about diet and exercise. Your preoperative weight also makes a difference, as people who start out at a lower weight tend to lose a higher percentage of excess weight than those who were heavier before surgery, according to the authors of a report published in the May 2012 issue of the "Journal of Obesity." Other factors such as age and gender may also affect your rate of weight loss.

Limitations of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery is relatively new compared to other weight-loss surgery procedures such as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding -- also known as lap band surgery -- and gastric bypass. Once performed as the first stage of a more complicated operation, gastric sleeve surgery as a stand-alone procedure was considered investigational in the United States as recently as 2009, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons. As of 2012, gastric sleeves have been recognized as effective weight-loss surgery procedures, but additional studies are needed to document their long-term results.

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