What is a sleeve gastrectomy?
The gastric sleeve was originally developed as the first of a two-stage procedure when the anaesthetic risk associated with a gastric bypass or duodenal switch was too high.
Many patients did so well with the gastric sleeve alone that no further surgery was required and today it is fast becoming a popular alternative to the gastric bypass as a much simpler and quicker procedure to perform.
The sleeve gastrectomy procedure involves removing 80% of the stomach and so produces weight loss by restricting the volume of food that can be eaten.
Is a sleeve gastrectomy suitable for me?
Your eligibility for a sleeve gastrectomy procedure is based on a number of factors including your weight and medical history but as a general rule, it could be suitable for you if…
- You have a BMI of 35kg/m2 or over
- You’ve tried and failed with diets and know that you need a permanent solution
- You couldn’t comply with the lifestyle changes of a gastric band
- You don’t want the irreversible change or are too young for a gastric bypass
How will it help me lose weight?
In the same way as a gastric bypass, a sleeve gastrectomy produces weight loss as a result of restriction and through an impact on appetite regulating hormones. Unlike a gastric bypass however, a sleeve gastrectomy does not involve bypass of the bowel, so there is a much lower risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency.
So how does it work?
- Restriction: The new stomach sleeve represents only about 20% of the original stomach volume which means you can only eat a very small amount of food before feeling full
- Effect on gut hormones: Levels of the appetite stimulant ghrelin fall after sleeve gastrectomy which may explain why patients experience such a marked loss of appetite. Patients also see profound changes in taste and food preferences, which may further contribute to weight loss.
How much weight will I lose?
We expect a sleeve gastrectomy patient to lose 50-70% of their excess weight in the first 2 years with most weight loss in the first year. Naturally some people will lose more and others a little less than this.
What does the procedure involve?
The sleeve gastrectomy procedure is performed laparoscopically (“keyhole” surgery) under general anaesthetic and takes around 1 hour. It usually involves a one night stay in hospital. Most patients will take a few days to recover and we advise taking a week off work (depends on the nature of your work).