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Gastric Sleeve and Hunger

The gastric sleeve, also known as the sleeve gastrectomy, is rapidly becoming one of the most popular weight loss surgery procedures available in the United States today. Initially conceived as the first part of a dual stage process – the second of which would usually be a duodenal switch – the gastric sleeve has proven itself effective on its own. During the gastric sleeve procedure, approximately 70 to 80% of the existing stomach is removed along the greater curvature. A smaller stomach pouch, about the size and shape of a banana, is left to receive food. With the removal of the stomach, the amount of food that can be consumed is restricted significantly, however the rest of the digestive process remains the same.


The gastric sleeve is the only major bariatric procedure that also has a profound effect on hunger. The gastric sleeve removes a portion of the stomach along the greater curvature that includes the fundus, which produces a great deal of the hunger producing hormone called ghrelin. The secretion of ghrelin from the fundus triggers the brain’s hunger switch telling us that we must eat. With its removal, those feelings of hunger are significantly reduced, though not eliminated. As a result, it is much easier for the patient to eat less without many of those difficult hunger pangs.

Many theories have been formed on the role of ghrelin in our bodies. However, there’s still plenty of research to be done to understand exactly how this hormone affects us and our feelings of hunger. What we do know however, is that many patients reap the benefits of fewer hunger pangs after a gastric sleeve procedure.

To learn more about the gastric sleeve as an option for long-term weight loss and disease resolution, browse our website and attend one of our free weight loss surgery seminars held monthly at our office.

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