The sleeve gastrectomy is sometimes just called “the sleeve.” It is now the most common weight loss operation worldwide. It is called a sleeve because the stomach is changed from an oval, football shape, to a long narrow tube, just like the sleeve of a long-sleeve shirt. This is accomplished by using a surgical stapler to remove the left side of the stomach.
The new stomach is about the size and shape of a banana. Since this operation does not require any changes to the intestines, it is a simpler operation than the gastric bypass. For this reason, it has a lower overall risk of complications than the gastric bypass or duodenal switch.
How Does the Sleeve Gastrectomy Work?
First, it makes the stomach smaller., so you feel full after eating a smaller meal. Second, the top (or fundus) of the stomach is removed. This means that your stomach will make less ghrelin, a hormone that makes your body feel hungry. So the sleeve gastrectomy helps you to eat less through 2 different mechanisms.
What are the Advantages of the Sleeve Gastrectomy?
- It does not require disconnecting or reconnecting the intestines
- It is a technically simpler operation than the gastric bypass (also called the Roux-en-Y or RNY gastric bypass)
- It has a lower risk of complications than the gastric bypass
- It can be used as the first stage of a 2-stage operation
Are there Disadvantages to the Sleeve Gastrectomy?
- Although it is a “minimally invasive” operation, it is still real surgery performed under full general anesthesia
- Like any operation, there is a risk of complications from surgery
- Some patients will get worsening of their reflux, or GERD (also known as “heartburn”) after a sleeve gastrectomy