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Understanding Sleeve Gastrectomy for Weight Loss

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Sleeve gastrectomy is a bariatric (weight loss) surgery that encourages weight loss by restricting the amount of food you consume.  In a sleeve gastrectomy procedure, the surgeon eliminates a sizeable portion of the stomach, leaving your stomach pouch about the dimension of a banana.  This restricts the food you can eat. The new, smaller stomach enables you to feel fuller after eating a small amount of food.

How Is Sleeve Gastrectomy Weight Loss Surgery Performed?

Most sleeve gastrectomy procedures are performed laparoscopically today under general anesthesia.  The surgeon makes between two and six small incisions in the abdomen, while using a small camera (called a laparoscope) and long surgical instruments placed through the tiny incisions. The images captured by the camera are transferred to a video monitor, which the surgeon uses to perform the sleeve gastrectomy.

Most of your stomach is removed during a sleeve gastrectomy. The surgeon joins the remaining sections of the stomach together with surgical staples. The new stomach is shaped like a long vertical tube, much like a banana. The sphincter muscles, which enables food to enter and exit the stomach, are left intact.

The majority of sleeve gastrectomy surgeries take between one and two hours to perform.

How Does Sleeve Gastrectomy Induce Weight Loss?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive weight loss procedure. Your new stomach is quite small, which will make you feel full after eating a small amount of food. You will also stay feeling full several hours after eating. It does not interfere with your absorption of nutrients. No intestines are bypassed or removed during the sleeve gastrectomy.

In addition to decreasing the size of your stomach, a sleeve gastrectomy may reduce your appetite by curtailing your hunger. The smaller stomach coupled with a reduced hunger hormone leads to weight loss.

Who Are Candidates for Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Individuals who are very obese and have not been successful in losing weight through diet and exercise are candidates for gastric sleeve.  Individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher and a serious medical condition, such as heart disease, sleep apnea, or diabetes, may be recommended for a sleeve gastrectomy. Individuals with a BMI of 40 or more may be recommended for the procedure, even if they don’t have any other serious medical conditions.

It is important to note that a sleeve gastrectomy cannot be reversed. Therefore, individuals should be committed to change their lifestyle after surgery, including controlling portion sizes, eating healthy foods, and exercising.  Dr. Choi will provide you with detailed information on this surgery and help you determine if this is the best option for you.