Usually performed on patients with a BMI >60, the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, (VSG) is a restrictive bariatric procedure. This is oftentimes performed as part one of a two step process, commonly ending in a gastric bypass. In this procedure, the surgeon will staple and divide the stomach, removing about 85% (including the portion that produces the hormone which stimulates hunger), and leaving you with a “sleeve” like portion. The remaining stomach is larger than the pouch left after a gastric bypass (about the size of a banana). This is why it is a safer procedure for patients with a higher BMI, because it allows the body to get used to the new, smaller stomach without too much shock.
Because this is a restrictive bariatric procedure, weight loss can be attributed to the patient being able to eat less in one sitting, and due to the fact that there is no re-routing of the intestines, the risk of malabsorption is minimal. This procedure, as with all other bariatric surgeries, is still only a tool in weight loss surgery, and patient devotion to exercise and healthy eating is imperative. In comparing this procedure to the other restrictive bariatric procedures, patients who opt to have the sleeve do so usually because they are uncomfortable with the idea of having a foreign body in their person (as is the case with the adjustable gastric banding procedure). Patients should be aware, however, that the leftover stomach is removed and therefore irreversible, unlike in the gastric bypass where the entire stomach is left in the body.
While this procedure is usually recommended for patients with a higher risk, higher BMI, it has been performed on patients with a BMI of 35. This procedure is chosen by those patients for a number of reasons. In addition to the lack of a foreign body, patients don’t have to be concerned about intestinal obstruction, ulcers, anemia or any sort of protein or vitamin deficiency. This also means the avoidance of “dumping” syndrome because the rest of the anatomy remains intact. Patients are also able to take anti-inflammatory medications without the concern of pills getting “stuck”, or resulting in ulcers.
As with all other bariatric procedure, the sleeve has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Patients are asked to research each procedure in great depth and speak with their surgeon regarding any questions or concerns you may have. With hard work and dedication, patients have had success with all the bariatric procedures offered at Carolinas Weight Loss Surgery.