Gastric Sleeve Surgery Ruined My Life: 12 Common Regrets

Gastric sleeve surgery ruined my life! Get the full story on common gastric sleeve regrets and explore non-surgical options that could be a better choice.

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Bariendo Team

Team @ Bariendo

Gastric sleeve surgery ruined my life! It’s a phrase we hear often. But when you’re researching the best ways to treat obesity, the success stories of patients who achieved dramatic weight loss with gastric sleeve often dominate the conversation. After all, we’re much more likely to share our victories than our struggles!

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone. Obesity is a disease that requires expert medical intervention for effective treatment. Gastric sleeve, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, can be a powerful tool for weight loss, and it’s often underutilized by those who qualify.

But, like any surgery, gastric sleeve comes with potential risks and side effects. You should have the full picture before making a decision. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common gastric sleeve regrets so you can have an informed discussion with your doctor about the options available to you.

12 Common Gastric Sleeve Regrets

Weight loss procedures can be life-changing, but it’s important to acknowledge that gastric sleeve is a surgical intervention that involves permanent changes to the anatomy. While many people achieve positive results, it’s essential to consider the potential risks and drawbacks. 

Let’s look at 12 common regrets and misconceptions associated with gastric sleeve surgery to help you set realistic expectations.

Surgical Consequences

Gastric sleeve surgery, just like any major surgery, comes with risks such as scarring, infections, and bleeding. Leaks from the stapled areas are also a concern that may require further medical intervention. 

Beyond that, recovery time can be significant. It may take as much as 4-6 weeks before patients can return to their normal routine. This can lead to additional stress and financial burdens associated with the procedure.

Social Isolation

After gastric sleeve surgery, patients must follow strict dietary guidelines, including avoiding certain foods. This can make social situations and dining out challenging, especially in the weeks immediately following the surgery.

Some patients find that they need to bring their food to social gatherings or avoid them altogether, which can lead to feelings of isolation. Friends and family may not fully understand or be aware of dietary restrictions, making social interactions more stressful and less enjoyable.

That being said, following your doctor’s advice for integrating solid foods gradually, meal planning, and mindful eating can help make the transition easier. Eating smaller portions at special events will allow you to enjoy social activities without feeling self-conscious.

Irreversible Changes

Gastric sleeve surgery involves the removal of a portion of the stomach and the use of staples to create a slender, elongated structure that serves as the new stomach. After the surgery, the patient can only eat very small meals, which helps them lose weight.

The relatively permanent nature of the surgery can lead to regret. If complications arise or the expected results aren’t achieved, patients may wish they had explored other options. That said, gastric sleeve surgery can be revised if you don’t get the expected results, so there is some flexibility.

Changes in the Relationship with Food

Patients must adapt to a new way of eating after gastric sleeve surgery to avoid discomfort and pain. The newly formed, smaller stomach can only handle small amounts of food at a time, and eating too quickly or consuming larger portions can lead to severe pain and discomfort.

Some patients experience sharp, uncomfortable pains if they overfill their stomach, requiring them to eat slowly and mindfully. Some patients may also experience a decreased sense of taste, a general disinterest in food, or digestive issues like gas and constipation.

These potential side effects can disrupt the enjoyment of meals. Over time, this may negatively impact the patient’s relationship with food and dining experience.


The financial burden associated with gastric sleeve surgery can be substantial. The average upfront cost can vary greatly, depending on the location, the surgeon, the specific medical facility, and the length of your hospital stay.

Beyond the initial costs, it’s also important to be aware of expenses associated with follow-up care, potential complications, and nutritional supplements. These costs can be significant and add up quickly, especially if they aren’t fully covered by insurance.

Lifestyle Changes

It’s important for patients to have realistic expectations. Gastric sleeve surgery is not a quick fix or a magical solution for treating obesity. While it can help jump-start significant weight loss, like any other method, maintaining long-term results requires an ongoing commitment to healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

The need for permanent dietary and lifestyle changes can be challenging to maintain, affecting social interactions and daily routines. This can impact social relationships as patients may feel the need to decline certain events centered around eating.

Additionally, daily routines must be adjusted to prioritize physical activity and nutritious meals. This ongoing effort is required for sustained weight loss, no matter which method you choose, and it can be challenging to maintain without adequate support.

Loose Skin

Excess skin is a common consequence of significant weight loss, including that achieved through gastric sleeve surgery. As the body rapidly sheds pounds, the skin often fails to shrink proportionately, leaving behind a large amount of excess skin.

Excess skin after significant weight loss can sometimes be managed through a well-balanced diet, hydration, and regular exercise. Over time, the skin may become firmer and toned, so patience is key. 

Skin removal surgery, or body contouring, may also be considered to improve physical appearance and self-esteem, but it may not be covered by insurance. Patients need to weigh the potential costs and discuss options with their care provider before deciding to have surgery.

Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome occurs in 20 to 50% of people who have gastric surgery. It’s caused by rapid gastric emptying, where food moves too quickly from the stomach into the small intestine without being digested.

Rapid gastric emptying can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea, particularly after consuming high amounts of sugar or carbohydrates. Patients who struggle with dumping system must carefully monitor their food intake to avoid triggering symptoms.

Psychological Challenges

Patients who face ongoing mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and body image issues sometimes find that they intensify after the surgery. 

Weight loss tends to bring about significant improvements in self-esteem, but studies show that some patients feel a loss of self-identity after rapid weight loss. While relationships with family and friends often improve, relationship issues or even a loss of relationships can occur due to perceived jealousy.

It’s essential for patients to have realistic expectations, a robust support system, and access to mental health resources throughout their weight loss journey. Addressing these psychological challenges proactively is critical to navigating the emotional complexities associated with surgery and dramatic weight loss.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Increased incidence of acid reflux and heartburn post-surgery are common. This condition occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing.

The reduced stomach size and altered positioning of the digestive tract associated with gastric sleeve surgery may affect the normal function of the lower esophageal sphincter. This can lead to acid reflux and other symptoms of GERD.

Managing GERD requires dietary changes, such as avoiding spicy or acidic foods and eating smaller meals. It may also help to avoid lying down immediately after meals. Medications can also be helpful to control the symptoms.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Gastric sleeve surgery permanently alters the digestive system, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies over time. The reduced stomach size leads to decreased nutrient absorption, making it challenging for the body to obtain adequate levels of certain nutrients from food alone.

Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals like B12, iron, calcium, and Vitamin D can have severe consequences if left untreated, such as anemia, bone disorders, and neurological complications.

Regular blood tests may be necessary to monitor and adjust supplementation to maintain long-term health.

Weight Regain

Despite initial success, some patients experience weight regain over time due to stretching of the stomach or returning to poor eating habits. The body’s metabolism can also adapt over time, leading to a potential slowdown or pause in weight loss.

Managing weight regain after bariatric surgery can be managed with a multifaceted approach, including lifestyle adjustments, gastric sleeve revision, weight loss medication, and ongoing support from healthcare providers. 

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG): A Non-Surgical Alternative to Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty, or ESG Stomach Tightening, is a non-surgical alternative to gastric sleeve that offers several advantages without the surgical risks. While ESG typically results in 3-5% less weight loss compared to gastric sleeve, it has the significant benefit of being a non-surgical procedure. This minimally invasive procedure is performed endoscopically, which means no scarring, no incision, and a dramatically shorter recovery time.

How ESG Works

ESG Stomach Tightening involves using an endoscopic suturing device to create a sleeve-like shape within the stomach. It reduces the stomach’s capacity by narrowing its opening and restricting the volume of food it can hold, mimicking the effects of surgical gastric sleeve. ESG helps patients feel fuller sooner and consume fewer calories, promoting weight loss over time.

Advantages of ESG

  • Minimally Invasive: Unlike traditional gastric sleeve surgery, ESG does not require major incisions or the removal of stomach tissue. This procedure is performed entirely through the mouth and into the stomach using a flexible endoscope. This means there’s no incision, no scar, and less risk of complications.

  • Shorter Recovery Time: ESG stomach tightening is an outpatient procedure, and most patients can go home on the same day as their procedure. They can often resume normal activities within 2-3 days.

  • Effective Weight Loss: Similar to gastric sleeve, ESG involves a physical change to your stomach, leading to more durable outcomes compared to medications such as Ozempic or Wegovy. ESG can lead to successful weight loss outcomes of 18-20% total body weight loss, which is slightly lower by 3-5% compared to the 23-25% typically achieved with surgical gastric sleeve procedures. For many patients, this slight difference may not be significant enough to justify undergoing surgery. Patients often experience improvements in obesity-related health conditions as well, such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.

  • No Permanent Alteration: Unlike surgical gastric sleeve, ESG does not permanently alter the anatomy of the stomach. The sutures placed during the procedure can be adjusted or removed if necessary, providing greater flexibility for future treatment. However, removing the stitches is not always guaranteed or encouraged, as it may lead to weight regain. It’s important to discuss this aspect with your doctors if it is important to you.

Things to Consider

  • Lifestyle Changes: Like any other weight loss method, success with ESG requires a commitment to dietary and lifestyle changes. Patients must maintain a calorie deficit and stay active to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals.

  • Patient Selection: Anyone with a BMI over 30 can be a potential candidate for ESG stomach tightening. Those with a lower BMI and related health conditions, like diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure, may also be eligible. In contrast, the BMI cutoff for gastric sleeve surgery is typically 40 or 35 with a related health condition.

Avoid the Regrets of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

If you’re on a weight loss journey but feel like you aren’t getting the results you’re looking for, ESG Stomach Tightening is a non-surgical alternative to gastric sleeve worth exploring.

The benefits of this cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure, including shorter recovery time, impressive weight loss potential, and fewer risks, make it an attractive alternative for those concerned about gastric sleeve regrets.

As the pioneers in ESG Stomach Tightening, our doctors are the experts in endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. Request a consultation, explore financing options, and start your journey to weight loss with a dedicated care team here for you every step of the way.

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