Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy is a “restrictive” weight loss procedure. It limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. Sleeve gastrectomy patients can lose, on average, 55% of their excess body weight.  The earliest forms of the procedure were performed in the mid-1990s. It has been adapted since then and has become a widely used technique.

The Procedure

In this procedure, a thin vertical sleeve of stomach is created using a stapling device. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy can be the first step before gastric bypass or it can be a single procedure for weight loss. If a sleeve gastrectomy is used as part of a two-step procedure, the first step is for the surgeon to create the small stomach "sleeve." This sleeve will typically hold between 50 to 150 mL, and is about the size of a banana.  The excised portion of the stomach is removed, reducing it to about 15% of its original size.

After a period of time determined by the surgeon, another procedure would be done in which the surgeon attaches a section of the small intestine directly to the stomach pouch. This allows food to bypass a portion of the small intestine. Doing so enables your body to absorb fewer calories, in addition to consuming less food. This two-step procedure may be done because patients may not be able to tolerate both procedures during a single operation. The sleeve gastrectomy is also an appropriate option for patients where the risk of performing a gastric bypass is too large.

Before you decide whether sleeve gastrectomy is your best option, you should consider both its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Limits the amount of food that can be eaten at a meal.
  • Food passes through the digestive tract in the usual order, allowing vitamins and nutrients to be fully absorbed into the body.
  • No postoperative adjustments are required.
  • In clinical studies, patients lost an average of 55% of their excess body weight.
  • Research has shown that this procedure helps resolve high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnea, and improves type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
  • Potentially shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery
  • Smaller scars
  • Less pain

Disadvantages

  • Complications due to stomach stapling, including separation of tissue that was stapled or stitched together and leaks from staple lines.
  • Gastric leakage
  • Ulcers
  • Dyspepsia
  • Esophageal dysmotility
  • Non-reversible, since part of the stomach is removed

If you have questions, talk with your doctor, contact our Weight Loss Program Coordinator, or sign up for one of our free Weight Loss Surgery seminars.