This procedure, sometimes called a partial gastrectomy or vertical sleeve gastrectomy involves surgically removing two-thirds of an obese patient’s stomach so that he or she feels full more quickly, leading to a decreased appetite and weight loss. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy leaves the intestine intact. Initial weight loss also occurs more slowly than with gastric bypass. Patients typically continue to lose weight up to 2-3 years after the procedure.
Dr. Billy makes 2 to 5 small incisions in the patient’s belly. A scope and special surgical instruments are then inserted through these incisions to remove most of the patient’s stomach. The remaining portions of the stomach are connected to one another with surgical staples, creating a long vertical tube or, banana-shaped, stomach. The surgery takes 60 to 90 minutes.
Patients who qualify for this surgery are very obese and have been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise. Candidates have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or are medically considered to be at least 100 pounds overweight. Patients with a BMI of 35 to 39.9 may also be considered for this procedure if they suffer from serious medical conditions that could be improved with weight loss. Such conditions include obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In addition to losing excess weight, this procedure can help improve many medical conditions that often go hand and hand with obesity, such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and gastroesophageal disease. A gastrectomy alone, however, is not a quick nor permanent fix for obesity. As with any weight-loss procedure, continued success requires lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, portion control, and daily exercise. Often this surgery is the first of two procedures. Frequently, it is used to facilitate initial weight loss in grossly obese individuals and is followed at a later time by either gastric bypass surgery or duodenal switch surgery.