The Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG) is a surgical option that induces weight loss by restricting food intake. With this procedure, approximately 70 to 80 percent of the stomach is removed laparoscopically so that the stomach takes the shape of a tube or “sleeve” which is roughly the size and shape of a hot dog. The portion of stomach that is removed is one of the key areas that produces grehlin, a hormone which stimulates hunger and appetite.
Since the operation does not involve any “rerouting” or reconnecting of the intestines, it is a more straight forward operation than the gastric bypass or the duodenal switch. In addition, unlike the Lap-Band® or Adjustable Gastric Band procedure, the sleeve gastrectomy does not require implantation of an artificial device inside the abdomen.
Studies show weight loss is about the same as a Roux n Y Gastric Bypass. This weight loss happens quickly (over one to 1.5 years – same as RnY Gastric Bypass). The complication rate is slightly lower than the RnYGB. The LSG has only five years of published data behind it (just that new).
Individuals who should consider the Gastric Sleeve procedure include the following:
- Those who are concerned about the potential long term side effects of an intestinal bypass.
- Those who are concerned about a foreign object inside the abdomen (band).
- Those who have significantly higher risk of complications after operation based on BMI (greater than 60 for instance) or serious medical conditions.
- People who must always take anti-inflammatory medications or are awaiting transplant (and will need to take anti-rejection meds).
Gastric Sleeve as a Step Toward Gastric Bypass
For patients with a body mass index greater than 60, the sleeve gastrectomy may be the first part of a two-stage operation. Some patients have a body shape that can make bariatric surgery more technically difficult, particularly those patients who carry their weight in their belly. If you fall into this category, you may benefit from a two-stage bariatric surgery.
In the staged approach, a multi-step operation like the gastric bypass or the duodenal switch is broken down into two simpler and safer operations. In the first stage, a sleeve gastrectomy is performed. This allows a patient to lose 80 to 100 pounds or more, making the second part of the operation substantially safer.
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