Understanding the Gastric Sleeve Procedure

Gain a better understanding of the Gastric Sleeve Surgery

When deciding if weight-loss surgery is an option for you or a loved one it is important to fully understand the surgical procedure.  Dr. Balette is one of the leading Bariatric or Weight-loss surgeons in the Greater Houston area.  He and his team have diligently over the last 10 years to aid in our patient’s weight loss journey and help them achieve their goals or a more healthy lifestyle.

One of the newest procedures to treat obesity is Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (or Gastric Sleeve Surgery). The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery approved it in 2009. Studies show that this procedure can lead to a weight loss of 60-70% in a year. The weight loss has been monitored for nine years by studies. It is almost identical to that of gastric bypass. Studies show that patients lose an average of 50-55% of their excess weight 9 years after surgery.

The primary purpose of gastric sleeve surgery is to restrict the stomach. The procedure involves the removal of approximately 80-85% stomach. This will limit the amount that can be eaten at one time, and therefore reduce the calories that can also be consumed. There is no “rerouting” or malabsorption. The risk of deficiency is reduced because vitamins and minerals are all taken in their normal ways. Patients who eat less food should take an adult multivitamin every day. Sublingual Vitamin B12 (under the tongue), is also recommended since the stomach does not make the intrinsic factor protein that is required for absorption.

Sleeve Gastrectomy was historically a two-stage procedure for patients with severe morbidity who were too high risk to undergo a Gastric Bypass. Patients would have a Sleeve Gastrectomy and lose about 100 pounds. Then, they would be converted to Gastric Bypass surgery in a second operation. We followed many patients who didn’t want to go through the second procedure. They lost weight. We now offer the procedure as a primary operation to all our bariatric patients. There is no need to have a second operation. Although there is not yet a long-term follow-up, patients have maintained their weight for at least 3 and 5 years.

Gastric Sleeve surgery has another potential benefit: the stomach portion that is removed can produce ghrelin. Ghrelin, a hormone that causes hunger, is thought to be one. Studies have shown that Sleeve Gastrectomy patients are less hungry and have lower levels of ghrelin than those who had other types of surgery. There are many causes of hunger, but this surgery may lead to greater long-term compliance and weight loss.

Most patients who have had Gastric Sleeve Surgery are able to return home within 24 hours. Many patients return home the same day of their surgery (outpatient surgery). The procedure usually takes less than one hour. The majority of people return to work within 1-2 weeks. The average weight loss in one year is between 60-70%.

Feel free to contact our Weight Loss Surgery offices in The Woodlands to learn more about your weight loss surgery options.

An easy way to learn more about weight loss surgery options is to view our online seminar.