Can You Stretch Your Gastric Sleeve?

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    Last Updated on April 1, 2024

    Let’s cut to the chase. If you’re here because you’re asking, “Can you stretch your gastric sleeve,” you’re worried about having undergone sleeve surgery only for it to fail. 

    “Will I regain the weight?” Will My Stomach Stretch After Gastric Sleeve Surgery? ← That’s the number one fear my patients have before having sleeve surgery, and it’s understandable. After years of yo-yo dieting and facing a litany of weight-loss setbacks, they’re looking for a guarantee: how can they ensure this surgery really will offer a lasting solution? 

    The short and sweet of this answer is: If your sleeve gastrectomy was done right, stretching concerns shouldn’t even be on your radar. 

    However, if you’re looking for the long answer, I’ll unpack it for you in this article so you can put this fear to rest.

    Scroll down to learn: 

    • Can You Stretch Your Stomach Pouch After a Gastric sleeve surgery? (the long answer)
    • Can pop or other foods stretch your sleeve?
    • Should you do anything to prevent sleeve stretching?
    A detailed diagram of the structure of the inside of the stomach.

    Is it possible to stretch out your gastric sleeve?

    We need to start by diving deep into why sleeve surgery is first and foremost a hormone operation.

    The stomach isn’t just an organ for digesting and holding food; it’s an intricate endocrine organ that plays a pivotal role in the release of hormones. 

    One of the primary hormones released by the stomach is ghrelin, often called “the hunger hormone.” 

    When you have sleeve surgery, you’re removing a significant part of the stomach known for its ghrelin production. The magic here? It takes with it the primary production site of ghrelin. It’s this dramatic drop in ghrelin levels post-surgery that translates into a significant reduction of hunger pangs. After sleeve surgery many of my patients say they woke up for the first time in their lives without any cravings. 

    See also  Can You Drink Alcohol After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

    Frankly, immediately post-op my patients find themselves navigating the challenge of eating enough to fulfil the needs of their postoperative nutrition goals – a major contrast to their pre-surgery eating habits. 

    Stomach sleeve stretch after bariatric surgery – Science Behind

    Okay, it’s time for a short anatomy lesson. 

    Nature designed our stomachs to handle a bit of stretching. Think of the walls of the stomach, consisting of ‘gastric rugae’ as akin to an accordion. They stretch in response to food, helping to signify fullness. It’s one of the mechanisms that should signal when we’ve had enough. 

    During sleeve surgery we remove the most stretchable part of this mechanism. By eliminating this part, the surgery ensures that post-op, the stomach has significantly reduced capacity, thereby aiding in weight control. Gastric sleeves are designed to withstand significant pressure and manipulation so it is very hard to stretch them.


    Is stretching your sleeve after weight loss surgery a real concern?

    In theory, there is a world in which it’s possible someone could stretch their sleeve. However, combing through the research literature, there is no evidence that the stomach stretches significantly after a properly constructed gastric sleeve. 

    Sometimes, years after sleeve surgery patients might find themselves able to consume slightly more than they did during their immediate post-surgery days. This leads to fears of an expanding stomach, a concern that after scoping the patient, is unfounded. 

    It’s more plausible that after time patients have learned to push their boundaries and limits more, misconstruing it as an increase in stomach capacity. Also, as time goes on, your stomach will empty a bit quicker so you will notice a bit less restriction.


    Bottom line: If you’re thinking of having sleeve surgery, your stomach won’t be the saboteur in your weight loss journey. It’s not a mechanical issue. The real challenge lies in the mental battle, which is why aftercare is so critical. 

    See also  Gastric Sleeve Diet: Eating Plan After Surgery Week by Week

    Can pop or other foods stretch your sleeve stomach?

    So this is a question that frequently pops up (pun intended). 

    The simple answer is there’s no research that indicates carbonated drinks, or any food for that matter, can stretch your gastric sleeve. 

    Again, is it impossible to stretch your sleeve? I suppose not. But the chances of your sleeve stretching from consuming pop in moderation is pretty negligible. 

    A common misconception is that the gas from carbonated beverages can expand the stomach, leading to stretching. This is unfounded. While carbonation might lead to some discomfort due to the pressure of gas, it won’t cause your stomach to expand permanently. 

    Remember, post-surgery your cravings go down. You likely won’t even have the desire to pop anymore.

    So will an occasional soft drink harm you or your stomach? No, but you might just find yourself avoiding them simply due to genuine lack of interest. 

    Also read: Eating After Sleeve Surgery

    YouTube video

    Should you do anything to Prevent the Stretch After Gastric Sleeve Surgery ?

    Again, this isn’t about whether your sleeve can stretch.

    The real underlying question is about weight regain after surgery

    Here’s the thing: unlike dieting where you carried the full burden of weight loss, post-surgery, you’ve got substantial help in the form of your new sleeve stomach. Think of it as a new partnership where your sleeve handles 80% of the task. The remaining 20%? That’s where our aftercare program steps in. 

    At The Sleeve Clinic we’ve meticulously crafted an aftercare strategy that never lets you face even one day of your journey alone. We’re right there with you: from remotely monitoring your weight to offering nutritional advice, reshaping your relationship with food, and introducing you to our private patient Facebook group. Here, you’re not just another patient, you’re family. 

    See also  Recovery After Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Timeline, Symptoms

    Also read: Dealing with “Plateaus” After Weight Loss Surgery

    In conclusion:

    I get it. After years of counting calories and seeing the scale go back up, it might feel like navigating the world of weight loss surgery is heavy – but it doesn’t need to be that way. 

    Let’s recap:

    • Sleeve surgery is, first and foremost, a hormone operation. It will also limit how much you can eat. 
    • Your stomach is naturally designed to stretch, but sleeve surgery removes the most expandable part. 
    • Consuming pop or gassy foods likely won’t stretch your sleeve. Instead, they might lead to discomfort. 
    • Post-surgery weight regain is more about the mind than the body. That’s why you need to make sure that you are part of an excellent aftercare that holds you accountable.

    If you’re thinking about sleeve surgery, here’s some next steps to take:

    Please note that the information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding weight loss surgery. If you are considering sleeve surgery you can book a consultation with our gastric sleeve surgeon at our weight loss clinic in Toronto here: Contact us!  


    Nature – A good stretch regulates satiety 

    Cleveland Clinic – Gastric Sleeve Surgery

    Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity – Interventions to improve long-term weight loss in patients following bariatric surgery

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    As one of the leading weight loss surgeons in Canada, Dr Gmora has gained a reputation for being a master of his surgical craft and producing outstanding weight loss results.