Sleeve gastrectomy, also called vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a slimming surgery. This procedure is usually performed laparoscopically, which involves inserting small instruments through many small incisions in the upper abdomen. Can gastric sleeve cause cancer?
Approximately 80 percent of the stomach is removed during sleeve gastrectomy, leaving the tube-shaped stomach the size and shape of a banana.
Limiting the size of your stomach limits the amount of food you can eat, and the procedure also causes hormonal changes that help you lose weight. The same hormonal changes also help alleviate overweight conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
As with any major surgery, sleeve gastrectomy is a potential health risk in both the short and long term.
Risks associated with sleeve gastrectomy may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Lung or breathing problems
- Leaks from the cut edge of the stomach
The long-term risks and complications of sleeve gastrectomy surgery may include:
- Gastrointestinal obstruction
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
Very rarely complications of sleeve gastrectomy can be fatal.
After sleeve gastrectomy, your diet begins with sugar-free, non-carbonized liquids for the first seven days, then goes to puree for three weeks, and finally to eat normally about four weeks after surgery. You’ll need to take a multivitamin twice a day, a calcium supplement once a day and vitamin B12 injection once a month for life.
You will have frequent medical checks to monitor your health during the first few months after weight loss surgery. You may need laboratory tests, blood tests and various exams.
You may feel changes when your body responds to rapid weight loss in the first three to six months after a sleeve gastrectomy, including:
- Tiredness, like you have the flu
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin
- Thinning and hair loss
- Mood changes
- The risk of colorectal cancer increased with bariatric surgery
- The risk of colorectal cancer has increased significantly among people who have undergone obesity surgery in a retrospective cohort study involving over 77,000 obese patients registered in the Swedish registry.
The increased risk of colorectal cancer was associated with all three bariatric procedures – vertical band gastroplasty, adjustable gastric banding and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass – and increased over time. Over time, no such pattern was observed among obese patients who had no surgery.