What is Sleeve Gastrectomy Weight Loss Surgery?
During sleeve gastrectomy weight loss surgery, the surgeon creates a thin vertical sleeve of stomach about the size of a banana, and removes the remaining stomach. This limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. It allows for normal digestion and absorption. Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the usual order, allowing it to be fully absorbed in the body.
The majority of weight loss sleeve gastrectomies performed today use a laparoscopic technique, which is 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 surgery varies. One study found that the average was 1.5 to 3.5 hours and the average hospital stay was 1 to 3 days. Patients usually return to normal activities in 2 weeks and are fully recovered in 3 weeks.
What are sleeve gastrectomy surgery benefits?
Studies have shown that patients lost an average of 55% of their excess weight and experienced improvements with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease and arthritis. They also found their cravings for sweets reduced. A clinical study showed that 50% of patients who had a sleeve gastrectomy procedure lost their craving for sweets after 1 year. In addition, the level of a hormone called ghrelin, which has been described as a hunger-regulating hormone, was significantly reduced after sleeve gastrectomy.
What about quality-of-life improvements?
Clinical studies of laparoscopic weight loss 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. Even with all its benefits, sleeve gastrectomy procedures may not be for everyone. Only you and your surgeon can decide if bariatric weight loss surgery is appropriate for you. Potential bariatric surgery complications may include:
- Perforation of stomach/intestine or leakage, causing peritonitis or abscess
- Internal bleeding requiring transfusion
- Severe wound infection, opening of the wound, incisional hernia
- Organ injuries
- Vomiting or nausea/inability to eat certain foods/improper eating
- Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), acid reflux (heartburn)
- Problems with the outlet of the stomach (narrowing or stretching)
- Development of gallstones or gallbladder disease
- Stomach or outlet ulcers (peptic ulcer)
- Staple-line disruption, weight gain, failure to lose satisfactory weight
- Minor wound or skin infection/scarring, deformity, loose skin