One of the first questions patients ask about gastric sleeve surgery is, “Will my stomach stretch after surgery?” And it’s a very important question.
You’re having gastric sleeve surgery to shrink the size of your stomach. This makes you feel full faster and eat less food. The surgery has a nice benefit of reducing the hunger inducing hormone ghrelin. But ultimately, it’s the restrictive nature of a smaller stomach that leads to weight loss.
So it’s normal and smart to ask, “What happens if my stomach stretches and I gain weight back?”
YOUR STOMACH CAN AND WILL STRETCH AFTER SURGERY
Our stomachs have the amazing ability to stretch and expand as a result of our food intake. The walls of our stomach are made up of folds of tissue called ‘Rugae.’ These are folds in the stomach wall that expand and contract as a direct response to food entering and flowing through your stomach.
Hunger and How Food Flows Through Our Stomach
Stomachs can stretch after surgery.When we eat food it enters through our mouths, gets chewed and swallowed. It then flows through our esophagus into our stomach where acid starts the process of breaking the food down. As we continue to eat, more food enters the stomach and joins the rest of the food – all of which is waiting to be broken down by stomach acid.
Our stomachs expand to accommodate all of this food. When our stomachs expand far enough a signal is sent to our brains telling us, ‘That is enough food, I’m full now.’ After you’re done eating, the food is slowly broken down by your stomach acid and then the folds in your stomach contract to push the food into your intestines where digestive juices further digest your food.