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Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve Surgery)

What is VSG Surgery (Sleeve Gastrectomy)?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a minimally invasive weight loss surgery that involves removing a part of the stomach to reduce its size. The procedure limits the amount of food you can eat, which leads to weight loss. It is also known as laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG), vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) or gastric sleeve surgery.

Sleeve gastrectomy is quick and easy to perform by experienced bariatric surgeons, and it is now the most commonly performed bariatric procedure in the U.S.

How is Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery Performed?

Sleeve gastrectomy is done laparoscopically, which means it is associated with shorter hospital stays, smaller scars, less pain and a quicker recovery at home.

During the procedure, bariatric surgeons make small incisions in the upper abdomen and use small tools to reduce the size of the stomach. The stomach is reduced to a small pouch, or stomach sleeve, about the size and shape of a banana.

Most of the left part of the stomach is removed. This section contains most of the cells that produce hunger hormones (ghrelin levels) – the hormones that tell us we are hungry and prompt us to eat. The combination of being able to eat less and wanting to eat less results in significant weight loss.

Who is a Candidate for Sleeve Gastrectomy?

This procedure is used to treat severe obesity. It is recommended for those unable to lose weight through non-surgical means such as diet and exercise.

Your health care provider may recommend sleeve gastrectomy if you are severely obese with a body mass index (BMI) over 40. Your BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Your provider may also recommend it if you have a BMI between 30 and 40  and a health condition such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease or type 2 diabetes. These recommendations may change based on your insurance.

Follow the BMI calculator to find out if you’re a healthy weight.

Patients must be in good overall health and not have any medical or mental health conditions that would exclude them from undergoing surgery.

What are the Advantages?

There are several benefits of sleeve gastrectomy surgery:

  • Effective weight loss. The average person loses between 20% to 25% of total body weight  over the course of two years after a sleeve gastrectomy. When these changes occur, people tend to live longer and have an improved quality of life. In addition, there is a reduced risk for health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
  • No foreign objects. The procedure does not require a band, like those used in Lap-Band.
  • Nutrient absorption. The procedure reduces the amount of food you can eat, but your ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals remains. Vitamin deficiency can occur with Roux-en-Y (gastric bypass) surgery.
  • Diabetes management. Ghrelin plays a role in sugar metabolism, so people with type 2 diabetes often see a decrease in their need for diabetes medications after surgery.

What are the Risks?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a safe weight loss surgery, but complications can still occur during and after surgery. Below are the main complications and risks of this type of procedure:

  • Leakage from the staple line or the stomach
  • Heartburn. Most patients with heartburn before surgery see improvement after surgery due to weight loss. However, some patients may develop new heartburn, which can range from treatable with medication to very severe.
  • Failure to lose weight or weight regain. This may occur if the stomach pouch is too large or lifestyle habits don’t change.
  • Excess skin due to weight loss
  • Blood clots
  • Hernia
  • Gallstones and gallbladder disease
  • Nausea or vomiting from certain foods

It’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding to undergo the procedure.

What Happens After Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a lifelong commitment that requires nutritional and lifestyle changes to help sustain weight loss.

Shortly after surgery, you slowly begin reintroducing foods into your diet, starting with a clear liquid diet. Then you’ll advance to a full liquid diet, a soft food diet and a regular diet in the weeks ahead.

You will work with our health care team to determine what is best to eat.

Learn more about the Bariatric Surgery Journey (life pre- to post-surgery).

Our Expert Bariatric Team

Bariatric surgery needs a multidisciplinary approach to obesity care. The Banner Health weight loss team offers compassionate, comprehensive and advanced care. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the safest, most successful bariatric patient experience possible.

Surgery is only one part of that care. Equally important is the education, lifelong follow up and support our team provides. Our team partners with you to achieve your weight loss goals and improve your quality of life.

Your team will involve a surgeon or surgeons, obesity medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, behavioral health specialists, support staff, medical assistants and some specialists in cardiology, pulmonology and sleep medicine. We are all working together with you on your care.

Take the Next Step: Am I a Candidate?

Bariatric Center of Excellence

Banner Health is accredited by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery for its high standards of care in weight loss surgery.

Ready to begin your weight loss journey?

Watch our free informational video to learn about the different weight loss surgery options we offer as well as eligibility requirements and what you can expect as a patient in the program.

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