“Is it possible to stretch my sleeve after surgery?” Many vertical sleeve gastrectomy patients have probably asked this question at one point. Directly after surgery, the restriction is real. Drinking water even seems like a feat! But once we start to heal and eat normal foods again, there are days where we wonder if our surgery even worked.
At times, we even panic a little wondering if we’ve overdone it, stretched our new stomachs, and ruined our outcome.
Relax! Stretching your new stomach back to its pre-surgery size likely isn’t going to happen. And here’s why:
Your post-op stomach
During a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the outer portion of your stomach is completely removed, leaving a “sleeve” roughly the shape and size of a banana. The stomach tissue removed is largely the area that expands and contracts to accommodate food and is also the part responsible for secreting the hunger hormone called ghrelin.
Think of it this way:
If you cut the bottom of a sock off from heel to toe, threw away the cut off portion, and stitched back together the rest, you could never stretch the “new” sock enough to accommodate as much as the original sock. There just wouldn’t be enough fabric there to do it.
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