Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Explore The Bariatric Skinny to learn about gastric sleeve surgery. Find the information you’re looking for about your vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

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Gastric Sleeve Surgery Overview

Gastric sleeve surgery, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a relatively newer type of bariatric surgery. In this procedure, instead of creating a pouch, a surgeon removes more than half of the stomach leaving a new banana-shaped tube. Surgical staples are used to reseal the remaining stomach. The level of Ghrelin, a hormone that controls hunger and appetite sensations, normally created and secreted from the portion of the removed stomach, is reduced to nearly zero. The removed portion of the stomach is also the most stretchable. Therefore, the new long, tubular shape is less likely to expand, permanently restricting the volume of food it is able to hold. Post surgery, only small amounts of food are needed to reach fullness. This irreversible procedure requires that patients make a lifelong commitment to eat only smaller portions of healthy, vitamin-rich foods.

Good gastric sleeve candidates generally have a BMI greater than 40 which roughly equates to 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds overweight for women. Gastric sleeve surgery, less common than gastric bypass surgery, is considered a reasonable alternative because, without the intestinal bypass, there is minimal risk of malabsorptive complications. The pylorus is preserved minimizing the risk of dumping syndrome. By avoiding intestinal bypass, the chance of intestinal obstruction, ulcers, and vitamin deficiencies are eliminated or greatly reduced. As a first-stage procedure for patients with an extremely high BMI, gastric sleeve surgery results have proven to be very effective. The surgery appeals to patients with concerns about complications related to bypass procedures or having a foreign object (like a lap-band) in their bodies. It is also recommended for patients with existing conditions like anemia, Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Post gastric sleeve surgery, patients should expect to stay in the hospital for one or two full days. Full recovery may take several weeks. Patients will need to accustom their new stomachs to eating solid foods. In the first two weeks, patients should limit their diet to liquid-only followed by about six more weeks of pureed foods before returning to solids. As with other weight loss surgeries, long-term weight loss success must include regular exercise and lifelong diet modifications. Patients learn to eat more slowly, consume much smaller quantities of food, chew thoroughly, and not eat and drink at the same time. Risks and complications from vertical sleeve gastrectomy may include leaking of the gastric sleeve if staples do not hold before full recovery, blood clots, and possible weight regain over time.

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From the Bariatric Surgery Journals

  • This is my second journey down the weight lost road, so I am not going into it without some knowledge.  I had the lab band surgery in 2006 with great success for a while. I lost over 100 pounds and kept most of it off for 6 years.  I had my problems with it but I do not regret having the lap band.  I started having health issues that caused my migrains to...

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