Gastric Sleeve and Acid Reflux – Things to be Aware of before Surgery

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Surgery done to reduce the stomach by 25% of its original size is called Gastric Sleeve. This is a surgical weight-loss procedure. The surgery includes removal of a large portion of the stomach along the greater curvature. The end result is a sleeve or tube like structure.

Acid reflux is a condition in which the acidic gastric fluid rushes back into the esophagus, causing heartburn. There is a valve at the entrance of the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).


How Acid Reflux happens

The food pumps back into the esophagus – This causes GERD


Generally, the LES closes when food completely passes through it. But when it opens frequently or doesn’t close properly, the acid regurgitates into your esophagus.

This can cause chest pain or heart-burn. It is also known by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


Gastric Sleeve Bad Results


The Al Roker’s bathroom-correlated incident shows the side effects of gastric sleeve. Roker has undergone gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and lost more than 100 pounds. He made quite the confession about his lifelong struggle with weight loss with NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman on Sunday’s “Dateline.”

Roker and Snyderman simply describe the lesser known side effects of gastric sleeve as “pooping one’s pants”.

The main purpose for the gastric sleeve surgery is to remove the negative side effects of obesity. These include obesity health problems, obesity discrimination, depression, increased chance of dying.



But there are some complications, risks, side-effects.These refer to negative and often acute issues that can arise of surgery and many other things. 


Side Effects of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The side-effects can include weakness, dizziness, flushing and warmth, nausea and palpitation. The symptoms of dumping syndrome can be avoided by eating a proper bariatric diet.

There can be abnormal depletion of body fluids. Difficulty in swallowing also called dysphagia can also occur if eating is done too quickly. Gallstones can be created following rapid weight loss which can occurs in as many as 1/3rd of bariatric surgery patients.

Hair loss occurs in some patients and can be caused by nutritional deficiencies. Intolerance to certain foods, beverages and drugs is another complication.

Acid Reflux Symptoms

The most common ones are heartburn and regurgitation. You can feel a burning pain or discomfort that can move from your stomach to your chest or even to your throat.

A sour or bitter-tasting acid may back up into your throat or mouth. There are other symptoms like bloating, bloody or black stools, burping, dysphagia, hiccups that don’t go, nausea, weight loss, dry cough etc.

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How Gastric Sleeve and Acid Reflux are Related?

The study of nearly 39,000 patients found that while traditional gastric bypass procedures reduced heartburn and acid reflux symptoms in most sufferers, a newer procedure — called a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy — was largely unhelpful for those who already had gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. What’s more, about 1 in 11 people who didn’t have GERD before sleeve gastrectomy developed the condition after their procedure.

– JAMA Surgery (Source)

This necessitates caution in choosing the right surgeon for sleeve gastrectomy. Dr. John Lipham, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles says that GERD is a serious medical condition and can lead to many complications. He says that sleeve gastrectomy is a good procedure, but is beneficial to selected patients who have NO GERD history.

Dr. Matthew Martin, a surgeon at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash says that bariatric surgery is not a fit for all patients. It need to be tailored, depending upon the patient. Especially for patients with severe reflux symptoms or GERD, gastric sleeve surgery may not be the best option. It should be discussed before surgery.

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Patient Evaluation before Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The above study marks a new way to make the weight loss surgery process more careful. The clinic or doctors must assess the patient’s medical history. If one has GERD, a bariatric option is more recommended. However, though there are some inherent advantages with gastric sleeve surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Videos – Interviews, Patient Responses




The digestive system is not altered unlike in the duodenal switch, gastric bypass or mini gastric bypass surgeries. It is primarily restrictive in nature, in the sense, it makes you feel full sooner. There are no alien objects installed in your body like the lap band.

Different methods of Weight loss surgeries

Bypass, Lapband, VSG – The advantages of these methods

The gastric sleeve may have fewer complications if proper dietary changes and an efficient surgeon are considered.

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  • Paul Davies
    February 21, 2016

    For me, after several years of acid reflux problems, I found a fix!
    Make sure the bed is elevated and no more problems at night, try it!

  • July 25, 2015

    This is a great article! My sister usually suffers from excessive gas causing her to burp too often. Will pass this article to her. Thanks for sharing.