Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is a type of bariatric surgery done to support weight loss. The procedure is highly effective and recommended for patients who don’t need to lose an extraordinary amount of weight, are older, or who are unable to undergo an invasive surgical procedure due to risks.
Benefits of a Sleeve Gastrectomy
For patients struggling with excess weight, a sleeve gastrectomy offers the following benefits.
- Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery: Most sleeve gastrectomy procedures are performed laparoscopically. This method has the benefit of shortening the recovery period, allowing patients to go home earlier. In addition, patients will have minimal scarring and lower risk of pain after laparoscopic surgery than after traditional bariatric surgery.
- Cost savings over time: Losing weight and maintaining a health weight will have significant, positive effects on the patient’s overall health. For example, the surgery may help improve or treat type 2 diabetes, giving patients the ability to save money on prescription drugs, doctor visits, and hospital visits.
- Reduced craving for sweets: Patients who undergo a sleeve gastrectomy experience a reduction or complete elimination of cravings for sweets. In addition, patients may have lower levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which regulates hunger, after sleeve gastrectomy.
Gastric Bypass vs. Sleeve Gastrectomy
Because the procedure is minimally invasive, the severe complication rate is very low — less than one percent. Patients who undergo a sleeve gastrectomy rather than a gastric bypass are at much lower risk of developing a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
The procedure is very safe because it is done laparoscopically and doesn’t alter the natural anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract.
Who is a Candidate For Sleeve Gastrectomy?
The procedure may be an effective weight loss option for patients who are:
- Less than 75 pounds overweight and are experiencing an obesity-related health issue like sleep apnea, heart disease, or Type 2 diabetes
- More than 100 pounds overweight and haven’t been diagnosed with major health condition
- Obese and need a safe initial surgery that will be followed by a second surgery, such as a gastric bypass or duodenal switch
What to Expect During Surgery
The surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen using the laparoscopic technique. Next, he or she will divide the stomach vertically to create a long, thin pouch, or sleeve. Once the sleeve has been created, the surgeon will permanently remove the remaining 80 percent of the stomach. The entire procedure will take about one hour.
This type of weight loss surgery is effective because it restricts the amount of food a patient can eat. The removal of the excess portion of the stomach will lead to positive hormone changes that will suppress feelings of hunger, support healthy levels of blood sugar, and create an earlier feeling of fullness.
Potential Side Effects And Risks
After surgery, patients may experience pain or wound infection. However, the risk is minimal when the procedure is performed by an experienced surgeon.