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Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

A Sleeve Gastrectomy is a procedure that reduces the size of the stomach. By removing a section of the stomach and reshaping it to be a thin tube or ‘sleeve’, the stomach becomes much easier to fill, which means you require smaller meals to satisfy your hunger.

The stomach naturally inflates during eating and deflates during digestion, and it’s the size of the stomach that determines when we’re hungry and when we’re full.

A Sleeve Gastrectomy is a relatively new approach that involves removing the lateral 2/3rds of the stomach with a stapling device. This can be done laparoscopically (key hole surgery) but is not reversible.

Rather than a round pouch, the stomach becomes narrow with a residual capacity of about 200mls, making it smaller and easier to fill up. The sleeve fills and empties like a normal stomach and feels quite normal to eat with.

Sometimes it is offered to patients as part of a two stage Bypass operation particularly for people with a BMI>60 because it allows good weight loss until the patient gets down to a safe weight and the more radical bypass can be offered laparoscopically.

A Sleeve Gastrectomy is a good option for people living in remote areas because it is a ‘set and forget’ operation, which requires little post-op follow-up or nutritional supplements.

Patients with a Sleeve Gastrectomy typically lose around 40-60% of excess weight over the first 1-2 years.

There is no malabsorption to nutrients. The volume of food you can eat does increase after a few months to years, which means the stomach sleeve may stretch and lead to late weight regain over time. The extent of this is currently unknown as it differs with every patient.

If weight is regained, the second stage of the BPD intestinal bypass can be added, often laparoscopically as well.

Like all operations there are risks involved. Some of the risks or complications involved with a Sleeve Gastrectomy include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Staple line leakage
  • Peritonitis