The vertical gastric sleeve gastrectomy, also known as the gastric sleeve, is a procedure that has existed for a long time. In many cases, the surgery is offered to the super obese, as the first part of their weight loss journey. Once they have lost sufficient weight, further gastric procedures will be completed.
Why the Gastric Sleeve Is so Popular
Those who have a BMI of 60 or over cannot have a traditional gastric bypass. This is because the risk of complications, and even death, is so high that the benefits do not outweigh them anymore. The gastric sleeve, however, can be completed through a laparoscopic procedure, which means there are far fewer risks of complications. Once people have lost enough weight to safely go through full gastric surgery, this will be offered.
Over time, the gastric sleeve has gained in popularity and is now offered not solely as the first part of a two part surgery, but also on its own. The results have been comparable to those of the lap band. Some people do not like to have the lap band completed, because it means a foreign object will be inserted into their body. The gastric sleeve is an excellent alternative in that case. Similarly, the procedure offers an alternative to those who worry about the possible side effects of the gastric bypass, including intestine obstruction, anemia, vitamin and protein deficiency, and ulcers.
How the Gastric Sleeve Works
The gastric sleeve is a type of restrictive surgery, and not a malabsorptive one. What this means is that it doesn’t change the digestive tract or the functioning of the stomach. All it does is make the size of the stomach smaller, thereby enabling people to feel fuller much quicker. To achieve this, around 60% of the stomach is removed, including the part where the hormones that make people feel hungry are produced. This means people are fuller quicker, as well as being less hungry. The surgery is highly successful, with super obese patients losing 50% of their excess weight in just one year, and obese patients losing as much as 66% of their excess weight one year after surgery.
The lap band is the least restrictive procedure of all, being reversible as well as adjustable. The gastric sleeve is the next least restrictive procedure, and the gastric bypass is the most restrictive of all. The sleeve is a fantastic option for those who cannot have a gastric bypass, for whatever reason, but who are committed to making the necessary lifestyle changes. This element is hugely important. Because the stomach is shrunk in size, but there are no restrictions on what someone can eat, it is possible for people to put weight back on after some time, simply because they stop following the advice of their dietician and nutritionist. It is very important, therefore, that you are committed to making significant, permanent lifestyle changes. Without those, the surgery will not be successful in the long term.