Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical procedure that induces weight loss by restricting food intake. With this procedure, which is usually performed laparoscopically, the surgeon removes approximately 75 percent of the stomach. This results in the stomach taking on the shape of a tube or "sleeve" which holds much less food. Although originally devised as the first stage of a two stage procedure for superobese or high-risk patients, the sleeve gastrectomy is now commonly and successfully used as a destination procedure for weight loss in persons with BMI greater than 40.
Statistically the reported weight loss for this procedure ranges from 60% of the excess weight; better results are obtained with good adherence to dietary and behaviorial guidelines. With smart food choices, regular exercise and good eating habits, patients who have had a sleeve gastrectomy will enjoy and maintain good weight loss.
With the sleeve gastrectomy there is no foreign body implanted, as with the adjustable gastric band, and there is no complex intestinal rearrangement, as with the gastric bypass. Most patients find that after a reasonable recovery, that they are able to comfortably eat a wide variety of foods, including meats and fibrous vegetables. Unlike the adjustable gastric band and the gastric bypass, the sleeve gastrectomy is a permanent procedure – it cannot be reversed.
Removing a portion of the stomach reduces the body’s level of a hormone called ghrelin, which is commonly referred to as the “hunger hormone.” Thus, many people find that they are much less hungry after the sleeve gastrectomy. Ghrelin also plays a role in blood sugar metabolism, so people with type II diabetes often see an immediate decrease in their need for diabetes medications (especially oral medications) after the sleeve gastrectomy.
Benefits of Sleeve Gastrectomy
Sleeve gastrectomy induces rapid and effective weight loss comparable to gastric bypass surgery. Patients can expect to lose 50% or more of their excess weight in three years. The procedure does not require implantation of a band, nor does it re-route the digestive process. Hormonal changes after the procedure help patients to feel sated, eat less, as well as improve or resolve diabetes.
Disadvantages of Sleeve Gastrectomy
Like other surgical procedures, sleeve gastrectomy is non-reversible. The rate of early surgical complications is comparable to traditional gastric bypass. Patients are at risk for long-term nutrient deficiencies.