Sleeve gastrectomy surgery

What is the sleeve gastrectomy?

The sleeve gastrectomy is a weight loss procedure that removes part of the stomach and restricts the amount of food that can be eaten. Like other metabolic surgeries, it also promotes weight loss by changing hormonal signals between the stomach, brain, and liver to establish a lower set point.

How does the sleeve gastrectomy work?

  1. Most of the stomach is removed except a small sleeve-shaped pouch. It can hold 1 ½ to 5 ounces, and is about the size of a banana.
  2. Patients are unable to eat as much food, fewer calories are absorbed into the body, and the hormonal signals between the stomach and the brain are changed.
  3. Typically, patients will experience weight loss and improvement in metabolic syndrome and overall health and well-being.

What are the health benefits of the sleeve gastrectomy?

  • Clinical studies show that patients experience a variety of benefits after surgery
    • An average of 66% excess weight loss(24)
    • Over 70% saw improvement or remission of type 2 diabetes(23)
    • Significant improvements in high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea, joint pain(23)
    • Increased physical activity, productivity, well-being, economic opportunities, self-confidence(11)
    • Minimally invasive procedure leads to shorter hospital stays and recovery time(29)
  • Several patients saw improved or resolved health conditions after the sleeve gastrectomy surgery
    • Type 2 diabetes controlled (45-58%)(8,11,23,24)
    • High blood pressure resolved (50%)(23)
    • High cholesterol improved* (77%)(25)
    • Obstructive sleep apnea resolved (60%)(23)

*Figure is for hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is a general term used for high fats in blood, which may include cholesterol and/or triglycerides.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of the sleeve gastrectomy?

Advantages:

  • Can lead to significant weight loss (average of 66% of excess body weight)(19)
  • Can lead to significant improvement of obesity-related health conditions(8, 11, 23, 24, 25)
  • Doesn’t use a foreign object (like the gastric band) and doesn’t reroute the digestive tract (like the gastric bypass)
  • Short hospital stays and recovery time due to minimally invasive procedure
  • Limits the amount of food that can be eaten
  • Causes significant changes to digestive organs and hormones that result in reduced hunger and increased metabolism
  • Permanent (won’t need more surgeries or readjustments, like the gastric band) 

Disadvantages:

  • Requires lifelong dedication to specific diet and exercise routines
  • Permanent (cannot be reversed)
  • Can lead to vitamin deficiencies
  • Possible complications may include:
    • Gastric leakage
    • Separation of tissue
    • Ulcers
    • Dyspepsia (stomach ache)
    • Esophageal dysmotility (swallowing disorders)
    • Dumping syndrome

For more information on the risks of sleeve gastrectomy surgery, click here.

Safety

Metabolic and bariatric surgery is as safe or safer than other commonly performed procedures, including gallbladder surgery.(27,54) When performed at a Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Center of Excellence, bariatric and metabolic surgery has a mortality rate of 0.13 percent. This means that out of 10,000 people who have this kind of surgery, on average 9,987 will survive surgery and 13 will not.(27) Gallbladder removals have a mortality rate of 0.4 percent. This means of 10,000 people who have their gallbladder removed, on average 9,960 people will survive surgery and 40 will not.(54)

All surgeries present risks. These risks vary depending on weight, age, and medical history, and patients should discuss these with their doctor and bariatric and metabolic surgeon.