The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive form of weight-loss surgery in which approximately 85 percent of the stomach is removed, leaving a cylindrical or sleeve-shaped stomach. With this surgery, the outlet valve and the nerves to the stomach remain intact and, while the stomach is drastically reduced in size, its function is preserved. The sleeve gastrectomy is not reversible.
The gastric sleeve results in fewer restrictions on the foods that patients can consume after surgery, although the quantity of food eaten is still considerably reduced. It does not involve any bypass or the intestinal tract, and it can be performed laparoscopically.
For obese patients with a relatively low BMI, the vertical sleeve gastrectomy may be a good choice, especially where existing conditions such as anemia or Crohn’s disease prevent them from having other forms of bariatric surgery. In addition, patients may choose this form of surgery if they are concerned about the long-term effects of bypass surgery or object to having a ”foreign body” implanted into their body, as is the case with gastric banding surgery.
Some of the advantages of a sleeve gastrectomy are that the stomach functions normally, but it is reduced in size and the amount of food eaten is limited. The part of the stomach that produces hormones responsible for stimulating hunger is removed, and there is less risk of developing ulcers.
Disadvantages of the sleeve gastrectomy are that weight loss can be slow if a patient does not follow a strict diet, complications can result from stomach stapling, and patients with high BMIs often require a follow-up surgery to achieve their goal.