The gastric sleeve, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is one of the most effective forms of bariatric surgery. It is a restrictive procedure that represents a popular procedure following the “vertical” trend in bariatric surgery.
Originally conceived as the first part of a two-part process, the gastric sleeve was used for patients that were extremely obese, i.e. those with body mass indices over 60. The reason for this was that the gastric sleeve was so simple, that it could be performed even on patients with higher surgical risk. The procedure would allow the patient to lose initial weight, and then would be followed up by an intestinal bypass to complete the process. In its simplicity lay the procedure’s success. As years went by, surgeons realized that the gastric sleeve was very effective as a stand-alone procedure, and they began to offer the procedure by itself.
Its wider adoption has encouraged most insurance companies to cover the procedure as a viable surgical intervention for obesity.
How It Works
The gastric sleeve works by cutting away approximately 70% to 80% of the existing stomach in a vertical manner. What’s left looks much like a sleeve, hence its name. The newly formed stomach is stapled to seal it from leaks. The portion of the stomach that is cut away is removed from the abdominal cavity unlike in gastric bypass.
The final gastric pouch is about the size and shape of a banana, and as a result of being much smaller than the original stomach, it limits the amount of food that a patient can eat after surgery, resulting in weight loss potential.
Much like other modern weight loss surgery procedures, the gastric sleeve is performed laparoscopically, meaning that rather than using the large single incision of old, five small incisions are made in the abdomen. These incisions allow the medical devices to be passed through trocars, specially-made ports acting as passageways into the abdomen.
Surgery usually lasts less than 1 to 2 hours and, when cleared by their doctor, patients can often leave the hospital the next day and return to normal non-strenuous activity within 1 week. Actual recovery times will vary between patients.
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