Weight loss with a Gastric Sleeve
The gastric sleeve procedure, or more technically laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, is a weight loss surgery that may be successful in helping patients who are morbidly obese, with a body mass index (BMI) over 60.
Gastric sleeve surgery essentially involves removing over half of the stomach so that the organ takes on a tube or sleeve-like shape, and is a relatively new bariatric surgical procedure. Patients who have had the surgery can expect to lose up to 50% of their excess body weight over a period of up to a year.
The surgery involves making five small incisions into the abdomen. Small surgical instruments and a tube with a tiny camera (laparascope) are inserted into the incisions and around 60% of the stomach is removed. Once the removal is complete, the remaining stomach is sealed and stapled closed. Some of the small intestine is also attached to the stomach to lower the amount of food absorbed by the body, resulting in a lower food intake and reduced hunger pangs. By using a laparascope, surgeons do not have to make one large incision into the abdomen. The smaller incisions allow patients to experience less pain, and recover quicker.
Gastric sleeve surgery is a safer and less invasive weight loss surgery than gastric banding operations. This makes it a preferred option for the very obese and sick patients in particular. In some cases the procedure may be undertaken to allow patients to lose enough weight so that they can then have a more invasive procedure like gastric bypass surgery some six to 18 months later. As with other weight loss surgeries, patients can expect to see improvements in their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and diabetes as a result of the operation.
The operation usually takes from one to two hours and is conducted under general anesthetic. It is an in-patient procedure and those undergoing gastric sleeve surgeries would expect to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. Full recovery can take a few weeks with the abdomen area remaining painful and swollen for a number of days.
After the operation, patients will normally be on a liquid diet for a couple of weeks before progressing to semi-solid foods before being able to once again eat solid food. Post-surgery, patients should stick to an exercise regimen and follow a strict dietary program that includes not eating and drinking at the same time, and eating only small quantities at a time.
The surgery is quite new and long-term side effects are not yet known but possible risks involved with the procedure include infection due to leaking of the sleeve, and blood clots. Gastric sleeve surgery is irreversible and some scarring may remain.
Gastric sleeve surgery is also called laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, vertical sleeve gastrecormy and tube gastrectomy.