Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Laparoscopic and Robotic Bariatric Surgery)
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve is a surgical weight loss procedure in which about 80 percent of the stomach is removed, leaving a much smaller, tube-shaped stomach called a sleeve.
Limiting the size of your stomach restricts the amount of food you are able to consume. The surgery also causes hormonal changes that decrease your appetite to help with weight loss.
Typically this surgery is performed with very small incisions via robotic surgery or laparoscopy. These minimally invasive surgical techniques utilize small cameras, attached to the surgical instruments so the surgeon can see inside your abdomen.
Advantages of minimally invasive surgery include:
- A shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery
- Less pain
- Smaller scars and a lower risk of getting a hernia or infection
How is Gastric Sleeve Surgery different than Gastric Bypass?
Currently, more than half of all bariatric surgeries in the United States are gastric sleeve procedures.
Although total weight loss and outcomes are generally the same for both procedures, there are several differences to consider and discuss with your surgeon.
Advantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- This procedure is less likely to lead to nutritional deficiencies
- The surgery is simpler and takes less time than gastric bypass
- There are lower risks for long-term complications
- Gastric sleeve surgery may have lower risks for patients who are extremely obese, or have other health-related complications
Disadvantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- The sleeve can stretch, which may lower long-term effectiveness of the procedure
- The longer staple line is more prone to break down over time, potentially causing leakage
Both gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery are permanent and require a lifelong commitment to major changes in diet and exercise.
Who should consider Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is a permanent procedure and should be considered carefully along with other treatment options. You may be a good candidate if:
- You have tried non-surgical weight loss options without long-term success
- You are ready to commit to a lifetime of behavioral and dietary changes
- Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 40 or higher
- Your BMI is 35 or higher, and you experience obesity-related health complications
- You fully understand the procedure, the risks, and the post-operative requirements
- You do not qualify for a gastric bypass because of other health risks
Who is not a good candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
If you do not meet the Body Mass Index qualifications
- BMI is 40 or higher
- BMI is 35 or higher, and you experience obesity-related health complications
If you haven’t tried non-surgical weight loss treatment options
Nutritional counseling, medical weight-loss programs and increased activity should always be considered and tried before exploring surgical options.
If you are not ready to make major lifestyle changes
Gastric sleeve surgery is a life-altering procedure that requires a commitment by the patient to make big and permanent changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle. Long-term success is dependent on your willingness to follow pre- and post-operative directions. Weight-loss surgery should never be considered a quick fix for obesity.
What happens before and after Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Your surgeon will ask you to have tests and visits with other health care providers before you have this surgery. Some of these are:
- Consultation with the surgeon
- Educational seminar to help you understand the procedure and requirements
- Blood tests, and other tests to make sure you are healthy enough to have surgery
- Nutritional counseling (most insurance companies require 3-6 months of supervised weight loss in order to qualify)
- Psychological evaluation to determine if you are emotionally ready for the surgery
- Classes to help you prepare for surgery
After the surgery, a strategic recovery plan will ensure lasting results. You will meet with a dietician, and follow a special post-operative diet during the first month. Regular post-op visits will help assess your progress and support groups are available to provide encouragement and understanding as you adjust to your new lifestyle.
What is the typical outcome for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the most effective weight loss procedures. Patients can lose up to 60-70% of excess body weight in the first one to two years.
Weight loss will decrease over time, but following a healthy diet and exercise will help you lose more weight. The decrease in appetite and smaller stomach sleeve will also help you eat fewer calories.
In addition to weight loss, most patients experience a large reduction or elimination of obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and digestive problems.