“The Sleeve” to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
What is sleeve gastrectomy?
The “sleeve” (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) is a fairly simple concept. Sleeve surgery removes most of the stomach (“gastrectomy”), which includes the part of the stomach on the left side that stretches to allow you to eat a larger amount of food. After that larger part is removed only a ‘tube’ or ‘sleeve’ of stomach remains in its normal position. When this smaller than normal portion is filled with food, it does not stretch as well to accommodate more food, so you will feel ‘full’ on much less food than you did before surgery. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, the intestine is undisturbed without removing or rearranging.
Some advocate sleeve gastrectomy because they feel the portion of the stomach removed contains a significant amount of a hormone called Ghrelin. It is felt that ghrelin is active in stimulating diet and that removal of that hormone is an additional advantage in long-term weight reduction. The true effect of this hormone continues to be examined.
In the choice of weight loss surgeries, sleeve gastrectomy is less complicated than gastric bypass in design and surgical steps, as it essentially ‘only’ involves removing the left 2/3’s of the stomach. Many patients express that it is an easier procedure to understand. Sleeve gastrectomy may be available for patients as low as 60 pounds overweight. Sleeve gastrectomy often requires less hospitalization, especially for lower weight patients.
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Considering sleeve gastrectomy?
Like several weight loss surgeries, traditional guidelines, supported by older literature and the insurance industry, recommend that you have a BMI (body mass index) higher than 40, or as low as 35 if you have health problems related to being overweight. There are surgeons who will perform some weight loss surgery such as sleeve gastrectomy, for patients with BMI of 30 or higher with or without related health conditions. Weight loss surgery of any type is a serious consideration, and all options should be discussed carefully with your surgeon.
In considering weight loss surgery, you will be carefully evaluated by your surgeon, and you will be fully advised of the considerations and risks involved. You should also have a general health assessment by your primary care doctor who can make sure you have no other health problems that need to be addressed and you are prepared to have anesthesia and surgery.
What’s sleeve gastrectomy surgery like?
Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so you will be safely and comfortably asleep. The surgery is performed through 5 incisions about as wide as a straw with one or two about the size of a magic marker. Sleeve gastrectomy typically takes about 60 minutes to perform. Patients usually stay 1 night and selected patients may stay in an aftercare suite.
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What’s life like after sleeve gastrectomy?
Sleeve gastrectomy has a relatively short recuperation time, and you may find that you are able to enjoy your usual activities within a week. Meals will be considerably smaller and a plan to advance your diet will be written out and reviewed with you prior to your surgery. Like all weight loss surgery, long-term weight management depends on your daily food choices and exercise decisions. Your surgeon can review your diet and maintenance care with you prior to your surgery.
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