Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery, also called 'Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy' or simply 'Sleeve Gastrectomy' is a restrictive-type weight loss procedure that dramatically reduces the overall capacity of the stomach.

The sleeve gastrectomy was first performed in 1988, but it didn’t enjoy much popularity among surgeons or patients until perhaps the last seven or eight years.  The sleeve operation is now performed in most of the world, and it enjoys a reputation as another safe and effective weight management option for people who are obese.

At Virginia Bariatric Surgery Center, Dr. Fitzer performs sleeve gastrectomies laparoscopically, which means the incisions are very tiny.  Keeping the incisions small helps to speed recovery time and lessen the surgical risks related to wound healing.  In most cases, this procedure takes between 35 - 75 minutes to complete.

How Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery Works

During sleeve gastrectomy surgery, Dr. Fitzer removes approximately 75-80 percent of the stomach to create a long, narrow stomach 'sleeve' that connects the end of the esophagus to the starting point of the intestine.

This narrow tube can hold far less food than the larger, bag-like stomach did. As a result, sleeve gastrectomy patients find they can create a full sensation with much smaller quantities of food, so they end up eating less.  Eating less results in a significant reduction in caloric intake.

Studies have also shown that sleeve gastrectomy can help patients lose weight by altering a hormone in the gut called Ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone secreted by the stomach that creates the feeling of hunger.  This drop in ghrelin levels after sleeve surgery can suppress hunger, control cravings, and make patients feel generally more satisfied.

Another advantage of a sleeve gastrectomy is that this procedure does not impact nutrient absorption in the intestines, so patients do not need to worry about the possibility that malabsorption might contribute to vitamin deficiencies.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Outcomes

Weight-loss results from sleeve gastrectomy are better than with gastric banding (LAP-BAND) surgery, but not as good as with the gastric bypass. Excess weight lost averages 60-65 percent, but, of course, results vary from patient to patient.

Since sleeve gastrectomy surgery does not involve the small intestine, it can be a good choice for obese patients who have small intestinal disease. Unlike the gastric bypass and the adjustable bands, sleeve gastrectomy surgery is not reversible because the excess portion of the stomach is completely removed during the procedure.

As a relatively new weight loss operation, sleeve gastrectomy surgery is not yet covered by every health insurance company. Our resident insurance experts can help you learn about your coverage options for all types of bariatric surgery, as well as medical financing resources if needed

For More Information

To find out if sleeve gastrectomy surgery is a good fit for you, contact Virginia Bariatric Surgery Center at (703) 709-9771 or complete our contact form.