Sleeve gastrectomy is a fairly straightforward weight loss procedure; it’s a restrictive form of weight loss surgery in which approximately 85% of the stomach is removed leaving a cylindrical or sleeve shaped stomach with a capacity ranging from about 60 to 150 cc, depending upon the surgeon performing the procedure.
Unlike many other forms of bariatric surgery, the outlet valve and the nerves to the stomach remain intact. While the stomach is drastically reduced in size, its function is preserved. Unlike other forms of surgery such as the Roux en Y gastric bypass, the sleeve gastrectomy is not reversible.
Because the new stomach continues to function normally there are far fewer restrictions on the foods which patients can consume after surgery, albeit that the quantity of food eaten will be considerably reduced.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the gastric sleeve lies in the fact that it does not involve any bypass of the intestinal tract and patients do not therefore suffer the complications of intestinal bypass such as intestinal obstruction, anemia, osteoporosis, vitamin deficiency and protein deficiency.
Finally, it is one of the few forms of surgery which can be performed laparoscopically in patients who are extremely overweight and this accounts for the rising popularity of the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
There are several key features that make sleeve gastrecomy an attractive surgical technique for weight loss:
- Can be performed laparoscopically
- No bypass of the intestinal tract
The first two of the features above probably reduce the risk of surgery, which is especially important when operating on patients who suffer from morbid obesity. The fact that there is no cutting or repositioning of any intestine brings the risk of leak or obstruction to very low levels (not impossible, as outlined in the risks section below). The fact that the procedure is almost always done laparoscopically may allow decreased stress on the vital organs (heart, lungs, etc.) and may allow quicker recovery in comparison to open procedures.
Risks specific to sleeve gastrectomy include:
- Risk of leakage and of other complications directly related to stapling
- Risk of small bowel obstruction
Alternative names: vertical sleeve gastrectomy, sleeve gastrectomy, greater curvature gastrectomy, parietal gastrectomy, gastric reduction and vertical gastroplasty.
Please see below for various articles covering typically asked questions regarding weight loss surgery:
Life After Weight-Loss Surgery: Can I Still Become Pregnant? View Article
What to Expect After Weight Loss Surgery: View Article
Understanding the Side Effects of Weight Loss Surgery: How Your Body Processes Food Will Change: View Article