One of the newest weight-loss surgeries available, the gastric-sleeve procedure (also known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy) involves removing approximately two-thirds of the left side of the stomach. The result is a tube- or sleeve-shaped stomach. After undergoing a gastric-sleeve procedure, patients feel full with smaller food portions, and their feeling of hunger is greatly reduced, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Advantages of the procedure include:
- Does not require implanting an artificial device in the abdomen
- Does not require reconnecting or disconnecting the intestines
- The major part of the stomach that produces hormones responsible for stimulating hunger is removed
- Far fewer restrictions are required on the foods that patients can eat following surgery, as compared to other bypass procedures, because the stomach continues to function normally
- Nutritional supplements are not necessary, because the surgery does not involve any bypass of the intestinal tract; additionally, patients are not at greater risk for complications such as intestinal obstruction, anemia or vitamin deficiencies
- Can be performed laparoscopically for some patients with a particularly high body mass index (BMI)
Because the surgery is so new, long-term (greater than five years) results on sustained weight-loss are not available. For some patients, the gastric sleeve is the first surgery of a two-procedure plan. Like all weight-loss surgeries, the gastric sleeve requires that patients follow a healthy diet and incorporate an exercise plan into their lifestyle in order to continue and then sustain weight-loss.
Patients should keep in mind that the surgery is not reversible, as part of the stomach is permanently removed.
Sleeve gastrectomy is not appropriate for all morbidly obese patients; consult your physician to see if it is an option for you.
Sources: Medline Plus (National Institutes of Health), American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery