The Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure (also called Sleeve Gastrectomy, Vertical Gastrectomy, Gastric Reduction or Gastric Sleeve) is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 15% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach. The operation permanently reduces the size of the stomach, is performed laparoscopically and is not reversible.
Sleeve gastrectomy generates weight loss by restricting the amount of food (and therefore calories) that can be eaten by removing 85% or more of the stomach without bypassing the intestines or causing any gastrointestinal malabsorption. It is a purely restrictive operation. It is currently indicated as an alternative to the adjustable gastric banding procedure for low weight individuals and as an option for higher weight individuals that may have lower risk than gastric bypass.
Advantages may include:
- Reduces stomach capacity but tends to allow the stomach to function normally so most food items can be consumed, albeit in small amounts.
- Eliminates the portion of the stomach that produces hormones that stimulate hunger (Ghrelin).
- By avoiding the intestinal bypass, almost eliminates the chance of intestinal obstruction (blockage), marginal ulcers, anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency.
- Very effective as a first stage procedure for high BMI patients (BMI > 40).
- Appealing option for people who are concerned about the complications of intestinal bypass procedures or who have existing anemia, Crohn’s disease and numerous other conditions that make them too high risk for intestinal bypass procedures.
- Appealing option for people who are concerned about the foreign body aspect of gastric banding procedures.
Disadvantages may include:
- Unlike LAP-BAND® or REALIZE™, it is non-adjustable and non-reversible.
- Soft calories such as ice cream, milk shakes, etc can be absorbed and may slow weight loss.
- Sleeve gastrectomy does involve stomach stapling and therefore leaks and other complications related to stapling may occur.
- Because the stomach is removed, it is not reversible. It can be converted to almost any other weight loss procedure.