9 Things You Need to Know About A Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Sleeve Gastrectomy)

A gastric sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy) is a restrictive procedure to help you with weight loss. It restricts the amount of food you can eat by reducing the size of your stomach.

In sleeve gastrectomy surgery your surgeon will remove a large portion of your stomach leaving a new, smaller stomach about the size of a banana. Your new stomach size limits the amount of food you can eat. You’ll only be able to eat a small meal and you will keep a feeling of fullness for longer. Food will be absorbed in the normal way as your intestines aren’t by-passed, as in a gastric by-pass.

1. What is a gastric sleeve surgery?

In gastric sleeve surgery your surgeon creates a small stomach “sleeve” using a stapling device and the rest of your stomach is permanently removed. Your stomach’s size will be reduced by approx 75%.

It can be a single procedure for weight loss or it can be the first step before other weight loss surgical procedures, such as gastric bypass.

2. What is involved in a sleeve gastrectomy procedure?

Prior to your gastric sleeve surgery you will be given a general anaesthetic that will put you to sleep.

A sleeve gastrectomy is normally done using a tiny camera called a laparoscope that is placed in your stomach and allows your surgeon to see inside your stomach.

Your surgeon will make two to five small cuts in your abdomen and pass the laparoscope and other instruments needed to perform the surgery through these openings. They will remove a large portion of your stomach and the remaining portions of your stomach are joined together using surgical staples. This creates a long vertical tube or banana-shaped stomach.
The procedure should take between 60 and 90 minutes.

3. The history of the gastric sleeve surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery was first introduced in 1988 as the restrictive part of a bariatric surgery to treat morbid and super morbid obesity called biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD-DS). In these high risk patients sleeve gastrectomy was proposed as the first step of the procedure followed by a second procedure with the gastric bypass or BPD-DS.

Sleeve gastrectomy, the first step in the two-step procedure, showed excellent weight-loss results and led to the proposal of the sleeve gastrectomy as a stand-alone procedure. As a result, since 2003, gastric sleeve surgery  has been offered as a stand-alone bariatric procedure¹.

In 2012, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) updated its position statement on sleeve gastrectomy as a bariatric procedure, recognising it as both a primary procedure and as the first stage in a two-step surgery².

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