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Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy is one of the newer bariatric (weight-loss) surgeries. This procedure can also be referred to medically as Gastric Sleeve resection, sleeve gastrectomy, tube gastrectomy or vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

A Weight Loss Tool

How Gastric Sleeve Surgery Works

During the Gastric Sleeve surgical procedure a bariatric surgeon removes about 80 percent of the stomach so that it takes the shape of a tube, banana, or sleeve. This operation is performed laparoscopically, meaning that the surgeon makes small incisions as opposed to one large incision. He or she inserts a viewing tube with a small camera (laparoscope) and other tiny instruments into these small incisions to remove part of the stomach. The tube-shaped stomach that is left is sealed closed with staples. The Gastric Sleeve surgery assists the patient with weight loss by two ways. The first method is by restricting the amount that can be consumed in each meal, thus creating weight loss. The second is hormonal; the part of the stomach that is removed with surgery contains hormones controlling hunger.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

The indications for the Gastric Sleeve are the same as other covered procedures such as gastric bypass or adjustable gastric banding. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40. This is the equivalent of being about 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds overweight for women. People with BMIs between 35 and 39 may also be candidates for weight loss surgery if they have obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. A BMI takes height and weight into account to measure body fatness. A BMI of 30 or higher in adults is considered obese and may qualify for a sleeve gastrectomy of the patient has Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Gastric sleeve surgery also may be appropriate for people who can't return as often for the follow-up visits required by gastric banding procedures such as Lap-Band surgery.

What to Do Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Before Gastric Sleeve resection or any bariatric surgery, you must quit smoking, as smoking increases the risk for infections, ulcers, pneumonia, blood clots, slow healing and other life-threatening complications after surgery. You should permanently quit smoking at least two months before the surgery and remain tobacco free for life.

Some surgeons require patients to go on special diets in the week(s) before the procedure.

What to Expect After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

A non-reversible procedure, Gastric Sleeve surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes about one to two hours.

The abdomen is often swollen and sore for several days. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication for the discomfort. Some scarring may occur, but this can be covered with clothing.

Following surgery, you will need to become re-accustomed to eating solid foods. Normally this starts with two weeks on a liquid-only diet, two weeks of semi-solid, pureed foods and then solids.

As far as weight loss goes, most people who have Gastric Sleeve surgery lose 50 to 80 percent of their excess body weight over the two years after surgery. Studies have shown that after the Gastric Sleeve resection procedure people show improvement in diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea within one to two years. These improvements are comparable with those seen after other weight loss surgeries.

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