Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy helps you lose weight by restricting the amount of food you can eat by reducing the size of your stomach. During surgery, the stomach is divided vertically and 85 percent of it is removed.

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The nerves to the stomach and the outlet valve (pylorus) remain intact to preserve stomach function. There is no intestinal bypass. Unlike other weight loss surgeries, this procedure is appropriate for patients with low and high BMI.

High BMI (50 to 60)

It’s not uncommon for patients to lose upwards of 100 or even 200 pounds. This dramatic weight loss significantly improves your health and decreases your risk factors. Once your BMI is lower (35 to 40), you can have a follow-up surgery, such as the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or Lap-Band.

Low BMI (35 to 45)

This procedure is safe and effective for lower BMI patients, with 90 percent achieving a BMI below 35 after five years. You may be a good candidate for this procedure if:

  • You’re concerned about the potential long-term side effects of an intestinal bypass, such as intestinal obstruction, ulcers, anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency.
  • You’re considering a Lap-Band but are concerned about the use of a foreign body.
  • You have other medical problems that prevent you from having weight loss surgery, such as anemia, Crohn’s disease, extensive prior surgery, among others.
  • You take anti-inflammatory medication. Typically, these medications must be avoided after a gastric bypass because it increases the risk of ulcer.

Benefits

  • You can eat most food, but in small amounts.
  • The portion of the stomach that produces the hunger-stimulating hormone (ghrelin) is eliminated.
  • You don’t have to worry about dumping syndrome (uncomfortable symptoms, such as abdominal cramping or nausea, which occur as a result of food rapidly “dumping” into the small intestine).
  • The risk of ulcer is low.
  • By avoiding intestinal bypass, the chance of intestinal obstruction (blockage), anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency are almost eliminated.
  • Patients with anemia, Crohn’s disease and other conditions deemed too risky for intestinal bypass procedures are eligible.
  • Vertical sleeve gastrectomy can be done as a laparoscopic procedure even for patients weighing more than 500 pounds.
  • This is very effective as an initial procedure for patients with BMI of 55 or more who may want to follow-up with a second one.
  • Results are promising for low BMI (35 to 45) patients, who do not need a follow-up procedure.
  • On average, patients who undergo vertical gastrectomy surgery lose 60 to 80 percent of excess weight in the long run.

Risks

  • The potential for inadequate weight loss or weight regain is more likely with procedures that do not have an intestinal bypass.
  • High BMI (50 to 60) patients will most likely require a follow-up procedure to help lose the remaining excess weight.
  • Soft calories, such as ice cream and milkshakes, can be absorbed and may slow weight loss.
  • This procedure involves stomach stapling, which brings the risk of leaks and other complications.
  • Because the stomach is removed, this procedure is not reversible.

Speak with a surgeon about vertical sleeve gastrectomy at our free weight loss seminar.