Morbid obesity is a serious issue that affects many people and could wreak havoc on their health. Although bariatric surgeries such as sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve can combat this issue, there are many cases of “gastric sleeve regrets” that attracted a lot of attention lately.

Recent statistics and studies show that the number of bariatric procedures performed each year has increased significantly over the past decade, especially in the United States. They also describe gastric sleeve as being safe with better outcomes compared to other types of general surgeries. However, as the demand for these procedures increases, there may also be an increase in the number of patients experiencing complications and undesirable feelings after the surgery.

Do Gastric Sleeve Regrets Really Occur?

Gastric Sleeve Regrets facts

While there is a good number of studies that have investigated the quality of life, weight loss, and other aspects of life following bariatric surgery, the number of studies that have investigated the matter of “regrating the surgery” is still very low, particularly among those who experienced complications during or after the surgery. A recent study tried to investigate whether patients could regret having gastric sleeve after 5 years, and the researchers concluded that patients generally don’t regret having the procedure.

In a study published in 2022, researchers tried to measure and compare two groups of patients who underwent the surgery. They didn’t find a significant regret feeling between the two groups, but patients usually feel concerned about complications that could occur after the surgery and the weight loss they were expecting.

Obviously, gastric sleeve regrets do occur, at least in a few cases. The reasons usually involve worries about the potential complications and the number of pounds the patients first intended to lose through the procedure. In any case, the surgery remains safe and effective for most people. The level of patient satisfaction is very high according to studies too.

Reasons Behind Gastric Sleeve Regrets

The reasons behind the feelings of regret and frustration among some patients after undergoing gastric sleeve can be boiled down into the following:

Dietary Changes

Many patients may experience disinterest in food after gastric sleeve surgery. The desire to enjoy eating may still be present but because the stomach is smaller now, you’ll feel satisfied quickly after eating your favorite meals. This may make you feel frustrated, especially if you were addicted to food before the surgery.

Excess Skin

Another common source of regret after the surgery is the presence of excess, saggy skin as the body losses weight quickly. Depending on the rhythm of your weight loss, age, and skin elasticity, excess skin may become noticeable in different areas of your body, including the chest, shoulders, arms, stomach, back, and thighs. Thankfully, there are different types of body sculpting procedures that can eliminate excess skin and help your body get back to normal.

Body Dysmorphia

Your brain may take some time to adjust to the new body image and contours after weight loss. Body dysmorphia refers to the excessive focus on flaws and irregularities of the body parts. Unfortunately, some patients develop this issue after gastric sleeve, causing a great deal of disappointment.

Hair Loss

Rapid weight loss after gastric sleeve can cause hair loss, which typically occurs during the first year following the surgery. Physiologically, your body becomes stressed as it adapts to fast hormonal changes. While hair loss is temporary, it can be frustrating and lead to great regret, especially among women.

Gastric Bypass Preference

Gastric sleeve surgery may not meet the expectations of everyone, and some may regret not choosing gastric bypass in the first place. This may be because of the development of acid reflux or GERD after gastric sleeve or because of the low pace of weight loss.

Unrealistic Expectations

For starters, many patients may have unrealistic expectations about the gastric sleeve. People often jump on board and start looking for cheap gastric sleeve after hearing or watching reports about the incredible transformation the surgery can bring. However, the reality isn’t always straightforward, and many could fall victim to their unrealistic expectations and dreams. For best results, it’s important to stick to a post-op diet and exercise plan.

Extra Efforts

Gastric sleeve surgery requires a lot of preparations before the surgery and new lifestyle modifications after the surgery. In other words, you must bring extra effort to the table to help your body adjust to the new life after the surgery. The surgery is a life-changing experience and if one isn’t ready to make permanent changes in their life, it may not be successful.

Gastric Sleeve Regrets in the Mainstream Media

sleeve gastrectomy Regrets

The alleged stories about complications or negative outcomes experienced by patients after gastric sleeve are spread on different websites and news sources. The reports commonly focus on deaths, infections, nutrient deficiencies, and other serious issues that have occurred because of the surgery.

For instance, the New York Post also published an article on their website in 2020 about a mom of 4 who developed anorexia following gastric sleeve. The mom suffered from fever and severe abdominal pain during the weeks following the surgery.

When it comes to stories of regrets and frustrations after gastric sleeve, a quick Google search can reveal a lot of news reports that have shed light on the subject, especially regarding malpractice cases and gastric sleeve abroad.

Recently, the BBC published an article on their website about different women who returned to their hometowns with sepsis, internal leaks, and deep frustrations after having gastric sleeve abroad. Some of these women declared that they regret having the surgery and it was their worst experience in life.

Another recent report from WLOX mentioned the tragic case of two Mississippi women who traveled abroad to Mexico to have a gastric sleeve and returned home with coffins. This sad story and other similar accounts have caused great concern among the public.

Solutions to Gastric Sleeve Regrets

There are many tips and suggestions that can help you avoid regrets and disappointments after gastric sleeve surgery, including:

Take the Right Decision

Make your decision to have gastric sleeve surgery after researching and asking all the questions you have. Discuss all aspects with an expert surgeon and get a second opinion. This is crucial for people who intend to undergo gastric sleeve abroad.

Be Committed and Disciplined

Commit to your weight loss journey from the start.  Without commitment, you may not be able to reach your weight loss goals even if the surgery went perfectly.

Pay Attention to Diet

Start a healthy diet and get used to light exercises as recommended by your surgeon before and after the surgery. A good diet is essential to guarantee the best weight loss results in the long term.

Be Positive and Confident

Feeling positive and content is an internal feeling. Approach the surgical procedure with a positive attitude and confidence and remember you’re not the first person to have the procedure.

Visit Your Surgeon

Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon and report any complication or abnormality you’re witnessing following the procedure. This includes sudden pain, fevers, bleeding, scars, site leaks.

Take Your Medications

Don’t ignore your prescribed medications after the surgery. Take any prescribed medications and nutritional supplements as directed. This helps you recover quickly and return to your normal daily activities.

Preventing Gastric Sleeve Regrets

 Gastric Sleeve Regrets prevention

Choosing a skilled surgeon or respected clinic is the main step to preventing post-operative regrets in the first place. A good surgeon will guide, support, and help you to achieve your goals and minimize the likelihood of failure and frustration. Ask your surgeon about the regrets of others who have undergone this surgery. This alone can prevent gastric sleeve regrets in many cases.

Furthermore, making the decision to have gastric sleeve surgery with thoughtful consideration, dedication, and realistic expectations can prevent regrets. Indeed, the only regret you may feel is the regret of not having the surgery sooner. Life is valuable and you deserve to live it in a healthy and joyful way.

Every moment counts, and gastric sleeve surgery is a medical procedure that can help you battle obesity and win the war against all its associated diseases. With a strong determination and willingness to succeed, regrets will not be an issue in this journey.

Gastric Sleeve Alternatives

Reading about gastric sleeve regrets and unfortunate cases may affect your perception and make you less comfortable about having the surgery. Fortunately, there are other weight loss procedures that you can consider instead of gastric sleeve:

  • Gastric bypass: This surgery limits the amount of food that can be consumed and reduces the absorption of calories. Gastric bypass takes the gastric sleeve a step further to make you able to lose more weight in a relatively short time. However, it has its own complications and potential regrets.
  • Gastric band: This is one of the popular weight loss procedures. Your surgeon places an adjustable band around the upper stomach to create a small pouch that limits the amount of food that can be consumed.
  • Gastric balloon: This is a non-surgical weight loss method that involves inserting a deflated balloon into the stomach via the mouth. It is then inflated with a sterile saline solution to take up more space in your stomach, reducing the amount of food that can be consumed. However, it’s a temporary solution that only lasts for six months.

The Bottom Line

Feeling disappointed or discouraged after a gastric sleeve isn’t common among patients, but it may occur for a variety of reasons and factors that can be dealt with through different means. The media outlets have exaggerated the number of unfortunate cases after gastric sleeve. Most patients recover smoothly and feel satisfied with the results.

International Clinics in Turkey is one of the leading providers of gastric sleeve worldwide. Thousands of Europeans, Americans, and Asians visit the clinics each year to receive affordable, safe gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures. You can reach us immediately using the button below.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do People Regret Getting Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Some people regret getting gastric sleeve due to a variety of reasons and causes, including the lifestyle modifications that they should impose on themselves and the rapid changes in their appearance, such as hair loss and saggy skin.

Will I Ever Enjoy Food Again After Gastric Sleeve?

You can enjoy food again after gastric sleeve without any problem. However, you’ll feel less hungry and feel full quickly after eating a limited amount of food. In other words, you can return to enjoy your favorite meals again after the surgery, but you will feel quickly full when eating them. 

What Percentage of People Gain Weight Back After Gastric Sleeve?

After gastric sleeve, patients often experience a significant reduction in weight (up to 80% of their excess weight). However, it’s common for patients to regain some weight during the years following the surgery (up to 25% of the weight they lost).

Is It Possible to Not Lose Weight After Gastric Sleeve?

You may end up not losing weight after gastric sleeve if you put extra strain and pressure on your body. To avoid this, you must give your body enough time to adapt and recover without following extreme diets or doing extreme exercises.

Can You Ever Drink Soda Again After Gastric Sleeve?

It’s better to avoid carbonated drinks for the same time after gastric sleeve and to be mindful of certain drinks that may cause discomfort to your recovering stomach. To promote healing, doctors also recommend patients avoid caffeine for at least three months after the surgery.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Death Post Bariatric Surgery?

According to a study, the most common cause of death after bariatric surgery is sepsis, which is responsible for 33% of death cases. Cardiac and pulmonary problems come next. Other sources blame anastomotic leaks for the majority of deaths following the surgery.

Which Bariatric Surgery Has the Most Complications?

Gastric bypass has more risks and potential side effects than a gastric sleeve. The procedure is more complicated and requires more steps compared to the gastric sleeve or gastric band.

Read more: Cheapest Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad: Top Destinations & Packages