Gastric Sleeve or Sleeve Gastrectomy
The gastric sleeve, also known as the sleeve gastrectomy is popular with patients and surgeons alike because it offers a relatively simple weight loss model. It is a purely restrictive procedure, meaning that it limits the amount of food a patient can eat in one sitting. The gastric sleeve is performed in a minimally invasive manner – several small incisions are made in the abdomen versus the one large incision employed in traditional open surgery. It was once only performed as the first part of a two-stage procedure called the duodenal switch. As time went on, however, surgeons realized that the gastric sleeve was a very effective procedure in and of itself. Many began performing it as a stand-alone operation. It was later deemed a major bariatric procedure and most insurance plans that cover bariatric surgery, now allow for the gastric sleeve as well.
How It Works
During the gastric sleeve, the surgeon cuts away and removes approximately 70 to 75% of the existing stomach. What is left is a much reduced gastric chamber about the size and shape of a banana. This sleeve-shaped pouch – hence the name – holds much less food, limiting the patient’s consumption at any given meal. Other than excising a portion of the stomach, the digestive system remains largely intact in form and function.
When the outer portion of the stomach is removed, so too is the fundus of the stomach which produces much of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. As a result, some patients report feeling less hungry over the course of the day. Furthermore, the valve between the stomach and duodenum remains intact unlike after a gastric bypass.
Most patients will lose a significant amount of weight (approximately 60-80% excess weight loss) and improve or resolve many of the diseases associated with morbid obesity. In general, the gastric sleeve will offer somewhat lower weight loss potential than the gastric bypass and greater weight loss potential than a gastric band. Individual results will vary and not all patients will be suited to the gastric sleeve procedure.
Advantages of Gastric Sleeve
- Significant weight loss and disease improvement results
- Fewer dietary restriction when compared to the gastric bypass
- No rerouting of the small intestine
- No permanently implanted medical device
- Some patients will have fewer hunger pangs after surgery
- Lower total weight loss potential than the gastric bypass
- Cannot be adjusted (except by a revisional surgery) or reversed
- Potential for the staple line to leak requiring emergency attention
- The gastric sleeve is major surgery and comes with inherent risks such as pain, blood loss, infection and rarely, death
If you would like more information on the gastric sleeve, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with us. At this consultation, you will learn more about the benefits and risks of the gastric sleeve and whether you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.
You may also learn more about our other procedures including the gastric bypass and gastric band.