What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy

You may have heard about a gastric sleeve, but many people ask what is a sleeve gastrectomy? This article will help give you some insight and help you to understand what a sleeve gastrectomy is.

A sleeve gastrectomy is also referred to as a VSG: vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or an LSG: laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. The whole idea of a gastric sleeve is reduce the size of the stomach, thus reducing the quantity of food that can be ingested.

Click here to read more about the Gastric Sleeve.

What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy – The Major Points

  • Restrictive treatment for weight loss
  • Removes up to 85% of the stomach
  • Limits the food intake
  • Eliminates the production of Ghrelin (the hunger hormone)
  • Reduces hunger
  • No rerouting of the intestines

What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy What is a Sleeve GastrectomyThis is a surgical operation wherein the left side of the stomach (greater curvature) will be removed. The result of this will be that the new stomach will now be the size and shape like that of a banana, a tube, or a “sleeve”.

Because the operation does not entail a ‘rerouting’ or reconnecting of the intestines, the operation is simple compared to the gastric bypass or the duodenal switch. Distinct from the lap band procedure, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure does not involve an implantation of any artificial device in the abdomen.

The procedure can be performed as open surgery, or it can be completed laproscopically. Many bariatric surgeons prefer the laproscopic technique because it puts the patient at a lower risk compared to open surgery. Open surgery will mean an increased chance of infection and excessive blood loss among other things. Patients also prefer the laproscopic method because there is significantly less scarring.

There are also some cases wherein the gastrectomy procedure is done as an initial step to treat obesity. There are some patients who have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 60, and the sleeve gastrectomy may be the initial part of the 2 stage operation. Once the patient undergoes the sleeve gastrectomy, and loses the weight, they can proceed to the next step of treatment, such as a duodenal switch, or a gastric bypass. If the patient undergoes a sleeve gastrectomy as well as a duodenal switch or a bypass all in one surgery, the risks are extremely high, and these are risks that can and should be avoided.

How Does The Sleeve Gastrectomy Work?

The sleeve gastrectomy works in two ways: it limits the food intake, and causes no hunger.

1. Limited Food intake
With a smaller stomach, you will be feeling full after eating a small portion of food. You do not need to make a conscious effort to eat less. Many of us tend to eat more food than we need to. Food is basically our energy, and any excess food we eat is excess energy. The body stores this excess energy in the form of fat. So, if we limit the amount of food we eat, then there is no excess fat being stored.

2. No Hunger
You’re eating less, and you would expect to be hungry all the time right? Wrong. The stomach’s fundus is taken out of the body which means no hunger. The fundus is the area of the stomach that secretes the hunger hormone called Ghrelin. With the sleeve gastrectomy, the fundus is removed, so you will not feel hungry all the time.

What is a Sleeve Gastrectomy – Advantages & Disadvantages

The VSG has a lot of advantages compared to the other bariatric procedures. Some of these advantages are:

  • It does not require the division or the reconnection of the intestines.
  • This can be used as a first stage of the 2 stage operation.
  • Much shorter recovery time, and s shorter hospital stay.
  • This is a much simpler operation when compared to the gastric bypass or to the duodenal switch. There is documented data that shows this operation is safer when weighed against the gastric bypass or the duodenal switch.

There are also some downsides to the procedure, which can include:

  • Because the procedure entails a removal of the stomach, this is an irreversible type of procedure.
  • Ice cream, milk shakes can be absorbed and may slow down the weight loss.
  • Since this procedure involves stapling, leaks and other complications that are related to stapling may come about.

Although a number of patients did not suffer from the complications after the surgery, the complications can still occur depending on the status of the patient. Like any other weight loss surgery, there are accompanying risks involved. The final decision on whether to go on with the procedure depends on if the advantages will outweigh its potential downsides.

It is very important to be informed regarding the risks and possible complications before you submit yourself for surgery. The best idea would be to consult your doctor, or a bariatric surgeon, find out all you can about the surgery by asking the experts what is a sleeve gastrectomy.