A sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive surgical weight loss procedure that limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. In this procedure, a thin, vertical sleeve of stomach is created and the rest of the stomach is removed. The sleeve is about the size of a banana.

Sleeve gastrectomy is typically considered as a treatment option for bariatric surgery patients with a BMI of 60 or higher. It is often performed as the first procedure in a two-part treatment. The second part of the treatment can be gastric bypass.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery Benefits

Studies have demonstrated that patients lost an average of 55% of their excess weight.*

Table 1: Health Improvements after sleeve gastrectomy
A clinical study on sleeve gastrectomy showed the following health benefits.

Health Problem Result After Sleeve Gastrectomy
Resolved Improved
Type 2 Diabetes 56% 37%
High Blood Pressure 49% 29%
High Cholesterol 43% 38%
Obstructive Sleep Apnea 60% 33%
Source: Realize

The majority of sleeve gastrectomy procedures are performed using a laparoscopic technique. Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery results in a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures.

A recent study showed that expenses associated with bariatric surgery were recouped in about 2 years.* One important reason is that weight loss surgery may help to improve or resolve conditions associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol,* so patients save money on related prescription drugs, doctor visits, and hospital visits.* In addition, monthly savings associated with laparoscopic bariatric surgery reach more than $900 as early as 13 months following surgery.*

A clinical study showed that 50% of patients who had a sleeve gastrectomy procedure lost their craving for sweets after 1 year, and after 3 years 23% still experienced a loss of cravings for sweets.* In addition, the level of a hormone called ghrelin, which has been described as a hunger-regulating hormone, was found to be significantly reduced after sleeve gastrectomy surgery.*

Clinical studies of laparoscopic bariatric surgery patients found that they felt better, spent more time doing recreational and physical activities, benefited from enhanced productivity and economic opportunities, and had more self-confidence than they did prior to surgery.* As you can see, a sleeve gastrectomy procedure may have many benefits. However, it isn’t for everyone. Only you and your surgeon can decide if bariatric surgery is an appropriate treatment option for you.

More Information on the Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure

The majority of weight loss sleeve gastrectomies performed today use a laparoscopic technique, which is considered minimally invasive. Laparoscopic surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures.

The length of time of the surgery varies. One study found that the average operative time was 1.5 to 3.5 hours and the average hospital stay was 2 to 5 days.* Patients usually return to normal activities in 2 weeks and are fully recovered in 3 weeks.*

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy can be the first step before gastric bypass or it can be a single procedure for weight loss. If a sleeve gastrectomy is used as part of a two-step procedure, the first step is for the surgeon to create the small stomach “sleeve.” After a period of time determined by the surgeon, another procedure would be done in which the surgeon attaches a section of the small intestine directly to the stomach pouch. This allows food to bypass a portion of the small intestine. Doing so enables your body to absorb fewer calories, in addition to consuming less food. This two-step procedure may be done because patients may not be able to tolerate both procedures during a single operation. Studies show that the two-step procedure has been used successfully in patients with a body mass index greater than 50 or in high-risk patients.*

As with any surgical procedure, risks are involved. Be sure to ask Dr. Waggoner about this risks so you can be sure the sleeve gastrectomy procedure is right for you.

*Source: Realize®