The Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy – often called the sleeve – is performed by removing approximately 80 percent of the stomach. The remaining stomach is a tubular pouch that resembles a banana.
Sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive procedure. It greatly reduces the size of your stomach and limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. It does not cause decreased absorption of nutrients or bypass your intestines. After eating a small amount of food, you will feel full very quickly and continue to feel full for several hours.
Sleeve gastrectomy may also cause a decrease in appetite. In addition to reducing the size of the stomach, sleeve gastrectomy may reduce the amount of “hunger hormone” produced by the stomach which may contribute to weight loss after this procedure.
Am I Suitable for a Sleeve Gastrectomy ?
Generally, if your weight is causing other health problems, you have a BMI (body mass index) of more than 40 and you have not been able to lose it by diet and exercise, you may be suitable for a sleeve gastrectomy.
It is worth remembering that the procedure is irreversible, and you will need to rethink your lifestyle to lose and keep the weight off. Your surgeon will discuss everything in greater detail, but you should consider all the pros and cons very carefully before you decide to go ahead.
This procedure works by several mechanisms. First, the new stomach pouch holds a considerably smaller volume than the normal stomach and helps to significantly reduce the amount of food (and thus calories) that can be consumed. The greater impact, however, seems to be the effect the surgery has on gut hormones that impact a number of factors including hunger, satiety, and blood sugar control.
Short term studies show that the sleeve is as effective as the roux-en-Y gastric bypass in terms of weight loss and improvement or remission of diabetes. There is also evidence that suggest the sleeve, similar to the gastric bypass, is effective in improving type 2 diabetes independent of the weight loss. The complication rates of the sleeve fall between those of the adjustable gastric band and the roux-en-y gastric bypass.
What Is the Recovery Time for a Sleeve Gastrectomy?
Your digestive system will need time to heal after the surgery, and so you will not be permitted to eat for a couple of days. You will then start slowly, on liquids, then onto soft or pureed food before introducing solid food. You will have to stay in the hospital for one or two days and you will be given dietary advice and information about additional vitamin supplements that you may need.
Obviously, you will need to take things slowly during the weeks following surgery. You may not feel up to much anyway as the complete change for your body could well result in fatigue and you feeling generally out-of-sorts. However, you will be encouraged to start your exercise regime after around a month, and you should then start to feel much better and have a lot more energy.
Your doctors will advise you to take part in a weight loss program and special diets, to ensure the weight stays off.
- Restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold
- Induces rapid and significant weight loss that comparative studies find similar to that of the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Weight loss of >50% for 3-5+ year data, and weight loss comparable to that of the bypass with maintenance of >50%
- Requires no foreign objects (AGB), and no bypass or re-routing of the food stream (RYGB)
- Involves a relatively short hospital stay of approximately 2 days
- Causes favorable changes in gut hormones that suppress hunger, reduce appetite and improve satiety
- Is a non-reversible procedure
- Has the potential for long-term vitamin deficiencies
- Has a higher early complication rate than the AGB
LAP-BAND surgery in the US can be prohibitively expensive, with an average price tag of around $15,000, which can often increase to $30,000 when all medical bills are totaled.
In comparison, the average cost of this same procedure abroad, such as in Mexico or Turkey, is $5,000-$8,000.
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