Sleeve gastrectomy is the fastest-growing type of weight loss surgery in the United States. Candidates for this procedure typically have a Body Mass Index above 40.
Sleeve gastrectomy, also called vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) or gastric sleeve, is surgery that reduces your stomach to about a quarter of its size, resulting in a sleeve-shaped pouch.
This helps you lose weight in two ways: it limits the amount of food you can eat and also reduces the amount of the hunger-causing hormone Ghrelin present in the stomach.
After gastric sleeve surgery, patients can expect to experience rapid weight loss for six months to a year. Other weight-related conditions may improve or disappear, including, hypertension, arthritis, venous stasis disease, certain types of headaches, heartburn, sleep apnea and many other disorders.
This procedure is performed laparoscopically, a minimally invasive technique that offers smaller incisions, minimal pain and faster recovery or through a robotic procedure that allows for more precise control of the instruments and faster healing time.
Einstein offers sleeve gastrectomy in Montgomery County at Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park and Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.
What’s the Difference Between Sleeve Gastrectomy & Gastric Bypass?
In a sleeve gastrectomy, an experienced surgeon reduces the size of the stomach to a sleeve shaped pouch. In a gastric bypass, the surgeon cuts the stomach to create a small pouch. The remaining stomach and first one to two feet of small intestine are then surgically bypassed.
An Einstein bariatric specialist can work with you to decide which procedure is best for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Sleeve Gastrectomy
Who should have a sleeve gastrectomy?
The sleeve gastrectomy seems to have similar weight loss to the gastric bypass. Also, most studies have shown the risks to surgery being nearly equivalent to the gastric bypass. So, if the weight loss is nearly the same and the risks are the same, why should a person have the sleeve at all? There are two major reasons to seriously consider the sleeve gastrectomy as your procedure of choice for weight loss. First, the concept of having your intestines re-routed as in a gastric bypass may feel too radical a procedure for you. The sleeve feels more comfortable for some patients. Secondly, some patients who have had extensive prior abdominal operations may be at higher risk for post-surgical complications with a gastric bypass than a sleeve. This is especially true for patients who have had previous intestinal surgeries or big hernia operations. Also, a sleeve gastrectomy is easier to perform in patients who have a high BMI or weight greater than 500 pounds.
Are there any nutritional benefits to the sleeve gastrectomy compared to the gastric bypass?
Although not proven, there likely is less of a risk of iron deficiency anemia than with the gastric bypass. However, there may be a greater chance of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
Can you get dumping syndrome with the sleeve gastrectomy?
The intolerance to high calorie foods – namely desserts and really fatty foods – is due to food bypassing the lower stomach. Since this does not happen with the sleeve gastrectomy, patients do not experience dumping syndrome after this operation. This fact may be one reason why some studies show the weight loss with the operation as slightly less than the gastric bypass.
Are there complications that occur more often with the sleeve gastrectomy?
Yes, there seems to be a greater chance of reflux disease after a sleeve gastrectomy. Although reflux symptoms occur commonly initially after a sleeve, in most people, this resolves quickly.
Are there complications after a sleeve gastrectomy that occur less frequently than a gastric bypass?
Yes. The chance of developing a bowel obstruction is much lower after a sleeve gastrectomy than a gastric bypass.
So how do I decide?
In the end, we believe that for the average patient, the gastric bypass is the best procedure. However, the sleeve gastrectomy is a close second. So close in fact that we are happy to enthusiastically support most patients in whichever procedure they may chose.
Is there a difference in the post-operative protocol after a sleeve gastrectomy compared to a gastric bypass?
No. Since the procedures are so very similar, there is no difference in any of the post-operative instructions. Patients who have had a sleeve gastrectomy are difficult to distinguish from those that have had a gastric bypass in nearly every way.