What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
The vertical sleeve gastrectomy, also known as the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve procedure, is a type of obesity surgery in which a portion of the stomach is removed, with the remainder being sewn into a sleeve-like shape. This results in a new, smaller stomach that is roughly the size and shape of a banana.
The sleeve gastrectomy works primarily by reducing the size of the stomach so the patient feels full after eating much less, takes in fewer calories and loses weight. In addition, the surgery removes the portion of the stomach that produces a hormone that can make you feel hungry, so you don’t want to eat as much. This procedure can be an excellent alternative to gastric bypass or gastric banding. Sleeve gastrectomy is a simpler operation than the gastric bypass procedure, because the intestine is not bypassed, so vitamin and most nutrient absorption are not affected as much as in the gastric bypass surgery. This is the most frequently performed bariatric procedure in the United States.
Our team will help you determine whether sleeve gastrectomy is appropriate for you and exactly how it will be performed. In some cases, the sleeve gastrectomy is preferred if you have certain complications, such as anemia, that may prevent or put you at higher risk for other surgical options.
Advantages of the Sleeve Gastrectomy
- Fewer food intolerances than with the gastric band
- Weight loss generally is faster with the sleeve than with the gastric band
- There is no implantable band device, so slippage and erosion are not a risk
- The surgical risk is lower than with the gastric bypass procedure, but the weight loss is similar. In addition, our team can perform the sleeve gastrectomy using minimally invasive techniques that help speed recovery time.
- No device that needs adjustment is inserted, so the follow-up regimen is not as intense as it would be with the band
Disadvantages of the Sleeve Gastrectomy
- Since the sleeve gastrectomy is a newer procedure, it hasn’t been tested as long as gastric banding or gastric bypass
- Sleeve gastrectomy is non-adjustable and non-reversible, unlike gastric banding. Once we remove the top portion of your stomach, there is no way to reverse the procedure.
- Complication risks are slightly higher than with the band
How is the Gastric Sleeve Different that the LAP-BAND?
Both LAP-BAND and gastric sleeve work on the same principle of limiting patients’ portion sizes and therefore allowing easier weigh loss. The main difference between LAP-BAND and gastric sleeve is that the LAP-BAND does not involve any cutting or stapling of the stomach and is fully reversible. Gastric sleeve involves permanent removal of a major part of the stomach and cannot be reversed. Even though the band doesn’t require cutting or stapling, it does require an elaborate follow up process which is not necessary for the gastric sleeve patients. In addition, the success of the band is largely dependent on achieving the optimal restriction with LAP-BAND adjustments or fills. Following gastric sleeve, patients do not need any additional procedures or visits with the surgeon. The only recommended follow up visits following gastric sleeve are periodical appointments with the dietitian.
Is Gastric Sleeve Right for Me?
Having gastric sleeve surgery is a big step toward improving your overall health. Our goal is to help you be as successful as possible. We consider your overall health and commitment to healthy living to determine whether gastric sleeve is right for you.
You may also want to consider the risks and benefits of gastric sleeve surgery. Understanding how gastric sleeve is different from other weight loss surgeries can help you make good decisions about your care. We discuss these risks and benefits with you in detail before surgery.
Gastric Sleeve: What to Expect
At Olympian Surgical Suites, the same small team of bariatric experts delivers all of your care. After surgery, we offer personalized care and support to help you achieve healthy living and weight loss goals.
Learn more about what to expect before, during and after your procedure.
If gastric sleeve surgery is right for you, here’s what to expect:
- We give you medicine to help you fall asleep and not feel any sensation during the procedure (general anesthesia).
- Our surgeon makes up to 5 small incisions in your abdomen. Through these incisions, we place a special camera and special instruments to carry out the surgery.
- The camera sends real-time video to a monitor in the operating room. We use this video to see inside your stomach during surgery.
- We fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to create more space between the organs so the surgeon can safely carry out the procedure.
- Rohrscheib removes most of your stomach while also sealing nearby blood vessels and tissue to control bleeding.
- We join the remaining portions of your stomach together using surgical staples. This creates a long sleeve-shaped stomach pouch.
- We complete the surgery by removing the camera and instruments and closing the incisions with stitches.
- Your care does not end with surgery. We help you adopt eating and exercise habits so you can achieve the results you’ve always wanted.
When you wake up after the surgery you will feel groggy from anesthesia, but your stomach won’t feel any different than before the surgery. Immediately after the procedure, you may not even feel the incisions; nevertheless, it is expected for you to feel a little sore once the anesthesia wears off. Once you are fully awake and the recovery nurse clears you, you will be able to go home with your care taker. We ask you that after you go home, someone stays with you for the next 48 hours if you needed any assistance. Most of your recovery will concentrate around the diet. Following the surgery you will slowly progress from clear liquids to solid foods over the period of five weeks. The first week following the procedure will be the most restrictive in terms of diet. Your bariatric dietitian will be there to guide you throughout the process of advancing your diet.