Gastric sleeve surgery also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure in which the stomach is reduced by about 15-25% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach. The remaining part of the stomach is stapled to form a tube shaped stomach or sleeve. This is sometimes referred to as ‘weight loss sleeve’.
Over the past few years, this procedure has gained significant popularity and is in fact the fastest growing bariatric surgery procedure.
Who is eligible?
You are a good candidate for this kind of procedure if:
- If your BMI(body Mass Index) is 40 or more, OR
- If your BMI is between 35 to 39.9 and have obesity related health problems like high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure.
How Does it Work
This procedure is done in two stages.
In the first stage your bariatric surgeon will perform this procedure laparoscopically, making several small 1/4- to 1/2-inch abdominal incisions. The size of the stomach is reduced so it restricts the amount of food you eat at one time, making you feel full sooner.
The area of the stomach which is removed during this procedure produces much of the hunger producing hormone ‘Ghrelin’. Hence the patient tends to feel less hungry after the first stage is done. Research has shown that this hormone was significantly lowered in gastric sleeve patients.
The second stage includes bypassing some of the intestines to reduce calorie absorption. This is done normally after a year of the first stage, when the patient has already reduced some weight.
However, it has been observed when the patients come back after a year; the weight loss is so significant that the second procedure was not required at all!
Ofcourse, this does not hold for all the patients.
Before the procedure:
Your surgeon will ask you to do some tests like:
- A complete body check up
- Blood test, ultrasound of your gallbladder, and other tests to make sure you are healthy enough to have surgery
- Nutritional counseling
- Visits with your doctor to make sure other medical problems you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart or lung problems, are under control
After the procedure
You are normally able to go back after 2 days of the surgery. The surgeon, nurse, or dietitian will recommend a diet for you. Meals should be small to avoid stretching the remaining stomach.
To avoid complications avoid you will need to follow the exercise and diet guidelines provided by your surgeon and dietician.
Disadvantages of this procedure:
Just like other surgical procedures, this procedure is irreversible.
- One in five patients experience digestion issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the first 12 months. This is a short term issue which usually gets resolved in around 3 years.
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Vomiting and mineral deficiency
- Sagging skin
This procedure is not a quick fix solution to obesity issues. Healthier lifestyle changes would certainly help.
With smart food choices, regular exercise and good eating habits, patients who have had a sleeve gastrectomy will enjoy and maintain good weight loss.