The Gastric Sleeve, also known as the Verticle Sleeve Gastrectomy, is a weight loss operation that restricts the amount of food you can eat and significantly reduces hunger in most patients. It is a purely a restrictive procedure, meaning there is no rerouting of the GI tract that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients and, unlike the Adjustable Gastric Band, the Gastric Sleeve does not involve implanting any foreign object into the body. The procedure simply reduces the size of the stomach by removing approximately 3/4 of its volume.
Following the Gastric Sleeve procedure you will be unable to eat very much at a time, so to maintain appropriate nutrition, you must choose high quality foods, eat more slowly, take smaller bites, and chew everything very well. In other words, "stop living to eat" to start "eating to live." Check out the After Surgery Do's and Don't's.
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Who is a Candidate?
If you need to lose anywhere from 75 to 250 pounds the Gastric Sleeve may provide a good option. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or other obesity related health problems you may also be candidate even if you are not technically classified as morbidly obese. Increasing clinical evidence suggests that weight loss procedures may provide significant benefit for diabetic patients even if they only need to lose 50 to 75 pounds. In these situations the Gastric Sleeve may offer considerable benefit with manageable risk. Patients who need to lose a very large amount of weight (more than 300 pounds) may still benefit from the Gastric Sleeve since it can be combined with other procedures later on to address persistent weight problems. Do you know your BMI?
Minimally Invasive Surgical Options
It was a positive experience, from beginning to end.
The Gastric Sleeve is performed under general anesthesia, and most patients spend only one night in the hospital. The operation is performed using laparoscopic techniques, which means quicker recovery and minimal pain in most cases. (Watch a video of the Gastric Sleeve procedure) Following the procedure, you will be on a liquid diet for the first couple of weeks or so with solid foods gradually reintroduced back into your diet over the first month following surgery. Eventually Gastric Sleeve patients are able to eat most foods they chose without much difficulty.
Results & Risks
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Gastric Sleeve is a significant reduction in your sense of hunger. Most patients tell me they just aren't hungry. When they do get a little hungry they eat a couple of bites and are satified. By physically removing a large part of the stomach there are fewer signals being sent to the brain, which create that feeling of hunger. While the sleeve is a great tool, and most patient lose weight fairly quickly, to maximize success it should be combined with a comprehensive weight management program, including regular follow-up visits with the surgeon and dietitian along with regular exercise.
The risk of the Gastric Sleeve is relatively low, but cannot be ignored. Part of the stomach is removed using a stapling device which seals-off both sides of the stomach with overlapping rows of staples then cuts the tissue between the rows of staples. It is possible for a leak to occur through the staple line, which could be a serious problem requiring additional surgery to repair. Deaths have been reported due to infections resulting from staple-line leaks. To help reduce this risk, Gastric Sleeve patients are maintained on a liquid diet for the first couple of weeks to minimize the stress on the staple-line. After that the risk of a leak is very small.
Dilation of the Gastric Sleeve can occur over time due to persistent over-eating. This could result in gradual weight gain if you return to your old eating habits. This is why it is important to combine weight loss surgery with dietary counseling, behavior modification and regular exercise to achieve optimal long-term success.
What Our Patients Say
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It is extremely important for any potential patient to recognize that obesity is a complex disease and the Gastric Sleeve alone will not cure this problem. The procedure should be viewed as a tool that is most effective when combined with a comprehensive weight management program. Only by combining weight loss surgery with dietary counseling, behavior modification training and regular exercise is it possible to achieve optimal success.