What is surgical sleeve gastrectomy?

A surgical sleeve gastrectomy, also known as a sleeve gastrectomy, is a surgical weight loss procedure that involves taking a portion of the stomach out to restrict how much food a person can eat. The procedure helps patients lose weight by working to change the hormone signals between the brain, stomach and liver.

Most patients lose between 50 and 70 percent of their body weight after a surgical sleeve gastrectomy.

Surgical sleeve gastrectomy is a newer procedure, so there is not long-term data on how effective the procedure is to maintain long-term weight loss.

How does a surgical sleeve gastrectomy work?

During a surgical sleeve gastrectomy, most of your stomach is removed. The stomach is divided vertically, reducing its capacity by about 80 percent.

When the surgery is complete, your stomach will only be able to hold approximately five ounces of food at a time. Because of the smaller stomach size, you won’t be able to eat as much food. Because of the reduction in calorie absorption, the signals that go from the stomach to the brain may be changed and you don’t feel hungry with less food.

In this operation, there is no manipulation of the small intestine and no implantation of a foreign body.

Most patients will lose weight, improve their overall health and improve their metabolic rate.

Who is a candidate for surgical sleeve gastrectomy?

Your Mercy Health doctor will evaluate your case to determine if you are a candidate for surgical sleeve gastrectomy. Surgical sleeve gastrectomy is indicated for severely obese adults who have a body mass index over 40 or have a BMI over 35 and another medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease.

You also will be evaluated for your ability to handle the stress of surgery. If you have medical complications that make the surgery even more risky, your doctor may recommend another treatment to lose weight before performing a surgical sleeve gastrectomy.

Your doctor will evaluate your readiness to drastically change your lifestyle as well. Lifestyle changes such as establishing healthy eating habits and exercising regularly are critical to maintain weight loss for long-term success.

Benefits of surgical sleeve gastrectomy?

There are a variety of benefits of having a surgical sleeve gastrectomy to aid in losing weight. Benefits include:

  • Takes less time to perform than gastric bypass surgery
  • Reduces hunger cravings
  • Results in more than 60 percent of excess body weight loss within one year after surgery
  • Does not require foreign band of objects in the body

Disadvantages of surgical sleeve gastrectomy?

Although complications from surgical sleeve gastrectomy are rare, they can be more serious than those from more traditional weight loss surgeries. Risks include:

  • Staple leakages — if there is a leak, it can take months to resolve
  • Sepsis — which can lead to death
  • Bleeding — severe bleeding from the blood vessels
  • Stenosis or strictures — narrowing or constriction of the stomach entrance
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Recovery period for surgical sleeve gastrectomy?

Following surgery, you will spend two to three days recovering in the hospital before being discharged. You will also need to rest at home for two to four weeks following surgery.

If you have chosen to get a surgical sleeve gastrectomy, you need to be prepared for a drastic change in your lifestyle for life.

Initially, your doctor will put you on a liquid only diet for one to two weeks and then transition to soft food diet for two to three weeks. Eating these foods helps the stomach heal from the surgery. When moving to solid foods, you will have to eat smaller meals and avoid eating and drinking at the same time.

When you have the approval of your Mercy Health doctor, you will start an exercise program. Exercising regularly is a critical step in the long-term success of the weight loss program.

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