Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • woman-holding-up-pants-too-big-for-her-bariatricsIn 2008, Memorial Health Bariatrics began offering sleeve gastrectomy. Like the gastric band, the sleeve is a purely restrictive procedure.

    During this procedure, the stomach is remodeled and a large portion is removed. The remaining stomach is shaped like a thin tube with a pouch at the bottom. The pouch holds the same amount of food as the pouch created by the lap band or the bypass (approximately one-quarter cup of liquid). The stomach remains attached in its normal fashion to the intestines. The pylorus, a muscular valve at the bottom of the stomach, is left in place. This helps to prevent “dumping.”

    Sleeve gastrectomy removes the portion of the stomach that stretches the easiest. However, the remaining portion can still be stretched over time, so measuring food portion is essential. As is the case with other forms of weight loss surgery, careful eating habits and exercise patterns are vital for long-term success.

    Sleeve gastrectomy is not a new procedure. It is actually the first step in another surgical process called a duodenal switch. However, duodenal switch patients had such great initial weight loss that the second stage of the procedure was often abandoned. This gave rise to the idea of using the sleeve as a stand-alone procedure.

    apple-and-measuring-tape-bariatricsSleeve gastrectomy does have some distinct advantages over other types of weight loss surgery, including:

    • Sleeve patients do not require adjustments after surgery.
    • There is no implanted device to fail or become infected.
    • Intestinal obstruction is very rare.
    • There are fewer issues with vitamin deficiency. The exception is that sleeve patients cannot produce enough intrinsic factor to process vitamin B12, so those supplements are necessary for life.

    During the first year after surgery, sleeve gastrectomy patients may lose 33 to 80 percent of excess body weight.

    Not all insurance companies will cover sleeve gastrectomy. Please check  your coverage policy.