The gastric sleeve also known as the sleeve gastrectomy has become a very popular bariatric surgery in United States. Now considered a major bariatric procedure, many insurance companies are covering it as part of their weight loss surgery rider. When the technique was developed, the gastric sleeve was used as the first stage of a two-part procedure, the second which would usually be a duodenal switch. As time went on, surgeons realized that the gastric sleeve was an excellent standalone weight-loss surgery procedure and began to offer it without the second stage switch.
Today the sleeve gastrectomy is performed in a minimally invasive Manner which means shorter recovery times, less pain and less blood loss. Using five tiny 1/2 to 1 inch incisions, rather than traditional larger incision used in open surgery, the abdominal muscle does not have to be cut significantly. The surgeon will proceed to remove about 70% of the existing stomach, leaving a sleeve shaped pouch remaining – hence the name. This smaller stomach pouch provides enough restriction that a patient will eat less and consequently lose weight.
Results of the gastric sleeve vary based on the patient, however most patients will lose more than 50% of their excess body weight and keep it off over the long-term.
Sleeve Gastrectomy Benefits
- Weight loss, on average, ranges from 55 to 70% of excess body weight.
- Obesity related diseases such as type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea can be improved or resolved within weeks of surgery.
- Because the fundus is removed during surgery, the hunger hormone ghrelin is mostly eliminated from the body, reducing the number and severity of hunger pangs.
Sleeve Gastrectomy Risks
- As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection and in very rare cases, death. Risks and complications associated with bariatric surgery have steadily decreased over the past several decades.
- If the staple line created during the procedure leaks, emergency surgery may be required to correct the problem.
- The procedure is not adjustable nor is it reversible, however it can be revised in cases of need.