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The gastric sleeve, which is also often referred to as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy or simply
the sleeve gastrectomy, has been around for many years and bariatric surgeons often perform the
procedure as the first procedure in a two part weight loss process.
For patients who are severely obese with a BMI in excess of 60 traditional gastric bypass
surgery, such as the roux-en-y, carries unacceptably high risks and so the gastric sleeve is
performed as this procedure can usually be performed laparoscopically with minimal risk. Then,
when you have lost sufficient weight, a second procedure such as classical gastric bypass surgery
can be performed.
In recent years however the view of the gastric sleeve has changed and it is now being used
increasingly as a stand-alone procedure which is capable by itself of producing results similar to
those seen with lap band surgery.
For patients who are concerned about lap-band surgery because they are concerned about having
a foreign body implanted into their abdomen, the sleeve gastrectomy can be an attractive
alternative. Similarly, it also presents an alternative for those patients who are concerned about
possible long-term side effects of gastric bypass surgery such as anemia, obstruction of the
intestine, ulcers and vitamin and protein deficiency to name just a few.
One other group of patients for whom the vertical sleeve gastrectomy can be a life-saver are
those people with an existing medical condition which rules out traditional obesity surgery.
Patients for example with Crohn's disease, Lupus, anemia and a whole range of other medical
The gastric sleeve is a purely restrictive rather than a malabsorption procedure and produces
weight loss by controlling how much you can eat. As a purely restrictive form of surgery weight
loss is slower than it would be with bypass surgery but you also avoid many of the side effects
and complications associated with bypass surgery. Although there is no long-term data available
yet for the gastric sleeve as a stand-alone procedure initial studies suggest that high BMI patients
(with a BMI of between 50 and 60) can expect to lose about half of their excess weight in the
first year after surgery. This figure rises to over two-thirds of excess weight for lower BMI
patients (with a BMI of between 30 and 40).
In weight loss surgery terms the gastric sleeve fits between the gastric band and the gastric
bypass and can be a good choice for patients whose overall health makes gastric bypass surgery
inadvisable and for many patients it can produce sufficient weight loss to make a very significant
difference to their state of health and their lifestyle.