What is a gastric sleeve surgery?
A gastric sleeve surgery is a procedure where the size of your stomach is reduced therefore limiting the amount of food you need to est to avoid hunger and help towards weight loss. It is usually done as a single procedure although it can be surgically altered at a later.
During a the procedure, your surgeon will create a new, smaller stomach using a stapling device and will remove a large portion of your stomach (approx. 75%) to about the size of a banana. Due to the reduced size of your stomach, you will only need to eat small meals and will feel less hungry for longer. Unlike with a gastric by-pass, food is absorbed in the same way as before as your intestines are not by-passed although you still need regular vitamins (for life) and 3 monthly injections of vitamin B12.
What does the gastric sleeve procedure involve?
The procedure generally takes between 60 and 90 minutes.
For the duration of the procedure you will be asleep under general anaesthetic given to you prior to the surgery.
Once you are under the general anaesthetic, your surgeon will make two to five small cuts in your abdomen and will pass a tiny camera (laparoscope) through the openings allowing them to see the inside of your stomach. Using other instruments needed to perform the surgery and the laparoscope, they are then able to remove approximately 75% of your stomach. The surgeon will then create a new and smaller stomach using surgical staples in the shape of a narrow tube.
Is a gastric sleeve procedure the right option for me?
All weight loss procedures have their positive and negatives and it is important you consider each surgery so that you and your surgeon can make an informed decision on which choice is the best for you.
When weighing up your options for weight loss procedures, you will need to recognise that a gastric sleeve is a permanent procedure that cannot be reversed. You will also need to consider that not all operations require significant change as there may be a small regain at 2 years and will need to be committed to the following an exercise and eating plan. Most people lose around 65-70% of their excess weight after a sleeve operation. On the other hand, the benefit of a gastric sleeve surgery is that you are able to lose weight without affecting the absorption of your food and without having to have a foreign body inside your body. Previous surgery may mean that a sleeve is a safer option for you than a bypass procedure. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.
What are the benefits of the gastric sleeve surgery?
• Preserves the pylorus (the valve that regulates the emptying of the stomach) and therefore allows food to stay in the stomach for a while, stopping you from having dumping syndrome
• Hunger is reduced as the part of your stomach containing cells with an appetite prompting hormone (ghrelin) is removed in surgery
• Can improve medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc
What are the risks of a gastric sleeve?
All weight loss surgeries have both benefits and risks and it is very important that you are aware of all potential risks before deciding to have the weight loss procedure. Most risks are unlikely to arise however can occur, for example:
• Eating more than your small stomach can hold leading to vomiting or stretching of your new stomach
• Inflamed stomach lining (gastritis), heartburn or stomach ulcers
• Injury to adjacent organs (stomach & intestines) during procedure
• If the staple line leaks digestive content, this can lead to serious infection
What happens after gastric sleeve surgery?
When you move onto solid meals, it is essential that you have small portions as your stomach will fill quickly this will also leave you feeling fuller for a longer amount of time.
You will need to rest after surgery and avoid straining your operation wound; This includes driving and lifting. We suggest having someone around to help you with everyday activities.