Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery is a weight loss procedure using 1 to 5 small incisions on the abdomen to remove a large portion of the stomach. Here we will show you how gastric sleeve scars look following surgery and the steps you can take to reduce them.

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy After Surgery Healing Drain Scars Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Scars Gastric Sleeve Scars - Minimally Invasive Laparoscopic Scarring Gastric Sleeve Scars - Minimally Invasive Incisions

Gastric Sleeve Operation Type

  • Single-incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) – Uses one single, small hole, typically inside of the belly button
  • Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy – The standard gastric sleeve, uses between 3 to 5 (typically 4) tiny incisions across the abdomen
  • Open Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Outdated) – This procedure is performed with one long vertical incision across the abdominal area

Laparoscopic Surgery 5 Incisions - Gastric Sleeve - Sleeve GastrectomyDependent on the type of gastric sleeve operation, the size and site of the incisions vary. In the standard vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the incisions are about an inch long (3 mm to 15 mm) in different sections of the abdomen – mostly in the lower left quadrant.

Everyone has a different experience of recovering from gastric sleeve surgery. Adhesions forming around incisions are a normal part of healing. Some patients’ scars disappear in the first few years while others are noticeable long-term.

There are many factors to take into account that determine the healing, recovery, and appearance of gastric sleeve scars.

First, let’s look at what scars you can expect after gastric sleeve surgery. Then, we see the do’s and don’ts of proper care of your VSG incisions.

Gastric Sleeve Surgical Incisions

The number of surgical incisions administered is dependent on surgeon experience. For many qualified surgeons, the better the patient does on the pre-op diet could mean fewer cuts needed to complete the surgery.

I) Single Incision Gastric Sleeve Scar

Single Incision Gastric Sleeve Surgery - Gastric Sleeve Scars

For single incision gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon uses one laparoscopic incision that is covered by the belly button.

This makes the single incision a viable option for patients who want minimal scarring.

Advantages of Single-Incision Gastric Sleeve:

The advantages of choosing the single incision option are having the most minimally invasive and aesthetically less noticeable scarring. Also, patients who undergo the single-incision method have less recovery time and limit risks and long-term complications.

II) Traditional Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Scars

Gastric Sleeve Scars - Incisions During Surgery

The laparoscopic gastric sleeve is the most popular weight loss surgery available today. It is nearly as effective as more invasive procedures like gastric bypass surgery and duodenal switch surgery. Additionally, the gastric sleeve has fewer complications or risk factors, with similar weight loss results.

The regular laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery is not a single incision and generally uses 5 cuts to insert trocars and a laparoscope. In this procedure, the healing of your scars is determined by your health.

Best bariatric surgeons working exclusively with MBC, like Dr. Valenzuela, perform a 3-cut vertical sleeve gastrectomy for most patients.

Gastric Sleeve Scarring During and After 3-Incision Surgery

How to Reduce Gastric Sleeve Scars – Tips for Scar Removal

Gastric Sleeve Scars Post-OperationThere are a lot of scar-reducing products, yet none of them have significant proof or testing that shows the reduction or removal of scars.1

  • Ask Your Surgeon and Primary Care Physician
  • Ask Your Support Group
  • Follow Post-Op Diet
  • Exercise and Physical Activity

Steps to Reduce Scars

  1. Keep incision scars clean! Wash them with soap and water
  2. Stay active on a post-op diet provided by your nutritionist
  3. Be physically active following surgeons advice
  4. Get sleep
  5. Avoid sun on scars – Use sunscreen if it will be in contact with the sun
  6. Do not pick scabs

Patient Tips to Heal and Minimize Scarring – The Patient Perspective

These are not be recommended or suggested by Mexico Bariatric Center®. These are suggestions made by past patients only*

Question: What did everyone use on their post-op wounds after weight loss surgery? I want my scars to heal properly and as quickly as possible with the least amount of visible scars possible?

Patients should wait for the laceration to heal before beginning to try to minimize scarring.

To Heal*

  • Antiseptic Spray
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Neosporin
  • I washed them with soap & water every day and left them open to the air – they healed quickly
  • Dial soap each day and dress my wounds in just gauze and tape

To Minimize Scarring*

  • Mederma
  • Vitamin E
  • Mupirocin
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Essential oils
  • Coconut oil
  • Neosporin
  • Vitamin E oil straight from a capsule will prevent internal scar tissue
  • Vitamin E and Collagen
  • Palmer’s Scar and
  • Tightening Lotion
  • Palmers
  • Bio-oil
  • Frankincense
  • Laser treatments
  • Silicone gel/tape

Silicone heals wounds by hydrating the top layer of the skin.

Final Thoughts

The healing process for gastric sleeve scars is different for everyone. It is crucial to be patient and avoid using unnatural or unproven products on your skin. Consult with your bariatric surgeon or primary care physician.

* Mexico Bariatric Center® neither suggests nor recommends these options – they are strictly patient recommended – talk to your surgeon, doctor, and/or nutritionist before trying anything.