During the gastric sleeve surgery, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the size of the stomach is reduced to about 60-80 cc (70 to 80 percent smaller than the normal stomach size), resulting in hormonal changes that reduce hunger. The outlet valve and the nerves to the stomach remain intact with this procedure, making it unlike the other bariatric surgery techniques.
Most patients can expect to lose 40 to 50 percent of excess body weight over six to 12 months. During vertical sleeve surgery, the main part of the stomach, which produces the hormones that stimulate hunger, is removed. This means that while the stomach is reduced in size and the volume of food eaten is limited, the stomach still functions normally.
The risks of problems with the vertical sleeve are low but include blockages in the sleeve or post-operative leaks along the staple line. Because this surgery doesn’t provide any component of gastric bypass, some patients may experience a disappointing level of weight loss or weight regain over time. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy could be converted to a gastric bypass if necessary, but it is unlikely. The gastric sleeve procedure is not reversible because part of the stomach is permanently removed.
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