The Sleeve Gastrectomy and how it works

November 12, 2012

The Sleeve Gastrectomy and how it works

The sleeve gastrectomy is a type of weight loss surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach by removing around 85% of it. The part of the stomach that is left is a cylindrical or sleeve shape with a capacity of between 60-150 cc.

Basic facts

Unlike other similar surgeries, sleeve gastrectomy is not reversible and as the stomach remains intact and fully functioning, there are not as many diet restrictions as there are with other surgeries of a similar nature. It works as a weight loss surgery as the patient will only be able to consume much smaller portion sizes before feeling full. As a side effect of a large part of the stomach being removed, there is an elimination of the hormones that are produced, which make you feel hungry.

Another advantage of the gastric sleeve is that it does not include any intestinal bypass, which can often lead to complications such as intestinal obstruction, vitamin and protein deficiency, anaemia and osteoporosis. There are some medical conditions that make intestinal bypass surgeries even more risky such as Crohn’s disease but the sleeve gastrectomy does not come with these dangers. Another advantage of this procedure is that it can be done laparoscopically in patients who are severely overweight. The primary disadvantage of a sleeve gastrectomy is that it does not have the dramatic weight loss results that people hope for and expect. In the long term it can even lead to a gain in weight as is true with many restrictive surgeries. Additionally as the surgery requires stomach stapling, there is a risk of leakage and other complications such as post-operative bleeding, bowel obstruction and pneumonia. All risks involved with this surgery are very small but it is important to be aware of them. Individuals best suited for this surgery are those who are either very overweight or whose conditions prevent them from being able to undergo another form of surgery.

Sleeve gastrectomy advantages

Below is a summer of the advantages of a vertical sleeve gastrectomy:

  • The stomach is reduced in size and although food consumption is restricted, the stomach remains in full working order

  • Feeling of hunger are reduced as the part of the stomach, which produces hunger stimulating hormones is removed

  • The likelihood of developing ulcers is reduced

  • Does not come with the same risks as surgeries that involve bypass

  • Patients with conditions that prevent them from being able to have any other form of surgery are still able to have a sleeve gastrectomy

  • There is the option of having the procedure done laparoscopically for patients extremely over weight.

Sleeve gastrectomy disadvantages

Disadvantages of the vertical sleeve gastrectomy include:

  • Weight loss results may not be as good as patients had hoped

  • Particularly over weight patients may require a second form of surgery to achieve their goal

  • A strict diet must be eaten in order to achieve weight loss

  • Complications linked to the stomach stapling can occur

  • The procedure is not reversible as a large part of the stomach is completely removed

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