Also called sleeve gastrectomy, gastric sleeve surgery uses special techniques to permanently reshape the stomach, decreasing it to about 25 percent of its original size and volume. During the procedure, the larger curved pouch portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a much smaller, narrow, sleeve-shaped portion that serves as the “new” stomach. Because the sleeve-shaped stomach is greatly reduced in size, patients feel full much faster, and the reduced size also means patients are able to consume fewer calories. In a few cases, gastric sleeve surgery may be performed prior to gastric bypass surgery in very obese patients, helping them lose weight prior to a bypass surgery so that surgery is more straightforward and less risky.* Unlike gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy does not alter the course of the small intestine.
Gastric sleeve surgery is performed laparoscopically, using small incisions and a thin, flexible scope called a laparoscope that’s equipped with special surgical instruments designed to work through small incisions. The minimally-invasive approach means there’s less tissue damage so patients can recover more quickly and with less discomfort compared to “open incision” techniques. Once the incisions are made, the stomach is reshaped and a surgical stapler is used to create the new sleeve-shaped stomach. Then the incisions are closed and bandages are placed over the incisions to protect them while they heal. Most procedures take 90 minutes or less to perform.
Because of the much smaller size of the stomach, patients may occasionally experience nausea when consuming too much food. It’s very important for patients to adhere to post-op instructions to avoid overeating or eating the wrong kinds of foods. The reduced stomach size also limits the number of nutrients absorbed by the stomach, and supplements may be recommended to help ensure patients receive optimal nutrition for their needs. Although nutrient absorption is not as affected as with gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy can limit the absorption of some specific nutrients, and supplements may be recommended.
No, sleeve gastrectomy permanently alters the shape of the stomach and it cannot be reversed.
*Individual Results May Vary.
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