What is Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Vertical Sleeve weight loss surgery diagram

During vertical sleeve gastrectomy (also referred to as gastric sleeve surgery), the surgeon removes about 3/4 of the stomach. As a result, patients lose weight because they cannot eat as much food. The procedure does not require open surgery; it can be performed laparoscopically through small incisions in the abdomen. Some people may eventually need a second weight-loss surgery.

This procedure may be recommended if you have:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. Someone with a BMI of 40 or more is at least 100 pounds (45 kilograms) over their recommended weight. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25.
  • A BMI of 35 or more and a serious medical condition that might improve with weight loss. Some of these conditions are obstructive sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

How Does Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Work?

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is not a quick fix for obesity. It will greatly change your lifestyle. The new, smaller stomach is about the size of a banana.  It limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food.  

What Are the Advantages of a Gastric Sleeve?

  • Average percent excess weight loss is 50-60%
  • Lower risk of mineral or vitamin deficiencies
  • No risk of internal hernias
  • It is safer procedure than the Roux-en-Y or the Duodenal Switch

What Are the Disadvantages?

  • Not reversible
  • Lower weight loss than Roux-en-Y or Duodenal Switch.
  • Can cause increased reflux/heartburn (15%) and food intolerances.
  • Risk of weight regain about 25%

Risks of Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Risks for vertical sleeve gastrectomy are:

  • Gastritis (inflamed stomach lining), heartburn or stomach ulcers
  • Injury to your stomach, intestines or other organs during surgery
  • Leaking from the line where parts of the stomach have been stapled together
  • Poor nutrition, although much less than with gastric bypass surgery
  • Scarring inside your belly that could lead to a blockage in your bowel in the future
  • Vomiting from eating more than your stomach pouch can hold