photo of sleeve gastrectomy procedure

The sleeve gastrectomy is a new restrictive weight loss surgery procedure that causes weight loss by restricting food intake. During the surgery, approximately 80% of the stomach is removed leaving a cylindrical or sleeve shaped stomach with a capacity ranging from about 60 to 150 cc, which will hold about ½ to 1 cup of food at one time. This surgery is an option for those patients that are morbidly obese with a BMI greater than 40, or a BMI between 35-40 with significant comorbidities. The surgery is performed laparoscopically, and usually only requires an overnight stay in the hospital.

The average weight loss for this procedure is reported to be 50-60% of the excess weight loss over two years. This means that if you are 100lbs above your ideal body weight, you would expect on average to loose approximately 50-60 pounds. However, individual weight loss will vary based upon how well you follow the post-operative guidelines.

Advantages of the Vertical Gastrectomy Weight Loss Surgery

  • The stomach is reduced in volume but tends to function normally so most food items can be consumed, though only in small amounts.
  • Eliminates the upper portion of the stomach that produces the hormones that stimulates hunger (Ghrelin), therefore hunger is often decreased.
  • No dumping syndrome because the pyloric valve is preserved.
  • Minimizes the chance of an ulcer occurring by decreasing the amount of acid secreted.
  • By avoiding the intestinal bypass, the chance of intestinal obstruction (blockage), anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency are greatly reduced.
  • No adjustment required or foreign body inserted (as in an adjustable gastric band) that may cause obstruction, slippage or erosion.

Disadvantages of the Vertical Gastrectomy Weight Loss Surgery

  • Because the stomach is removed, it is not reversible. It can though be converted to a Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass in the future, if necessary.
  • There is a potential for inadequate weight loss or weight regain. While this is true for all procedures, it is theoretically more possible with procedures that do not have an intestinal bypass.
  • Soft calories such as ice cream, milk shakes, can be consumed and these high calorie foods may slow weight loss.
  • This procedure does involve stomach stapling and, therefore, leaks and other complications related to stapling may occur.
  • This is not a covered benefit by all insurance companies.