Gastric Sleeve Procedure

Individuals considering the gastric sleeve operation should consider this procedure carefully. It differs significantly from other surgical weight loss options such as lap band or gastric bypass procedures. Many of us know someone who has undergone one of these procedures, but a gastric sleeve operation is a bit less common. Let’s look at the steps of this operation and help the potential surgery candidate understand the mechanics of the process. This way you can make an informed decision about whether this operation will help you reach your weight loss goals and get the body you have always hoped for.

Step One: Anesthetizing

Of course this is an important part of any surgical procedure. There are usually a few options for the type of anesthesia used, and the surgeon will go over these with you prior to surgery. Know that anesthesia fees are added separate from the total surgery bill and tend to incur significant costs.

Step Two: Setting the Stage for Laparoscopy

Rather than open up the entire abdominal area, surgeons today do gastric sleeve surgery through a technique known as “laparoscopy.” This advancement in medical technology utilizes lights and tiny cameras to present the surgery area on a large screen, allowing the doctor to examine the area closely without opening up (and consequently scarring) the patient’s entire torso. To accomplish this, the surgeon will make a few small incisions in the abdominal area. Small, lighted cameras are inserted through these incisions along with the tools needed to adjust the stomach. A monitor close to the doctor projects the image of the patient’s interior, enabling the doctor to begin reshaping the stomach.

Step Three: Shaping the Organ

This step is the reason gastric sleeve surgery is so invasive, not to mention irreversible. During the operation, the doctor will completely remove about three-quarters of the patient’s stomach. It is taken off the outer curve of the organ. When these tissues are cut away, the doctor then forms a new stomach from the remaining tissues. When completed, it has the shape of a long tube or sleeve, hence the procedure’s name. It is important to note that the rest of the area functions the same: the valve allowing food to enter the stomach still operates as it did before, and the stomach spans the same distance from the esophagus to the small intestine. The result of this is that the stomach holds considerably less food than it did before, causing the patient to feel fuller sooner and consume less food.

Step Four: Sutures and Recovery

Finally, the surgeon removes the lights, cameras, and other surgical tools, sews up the incisions, and the patient is able to begin recovering. Modern advancements have made this a remarkably fast procedure: many patients are done in just an hour! Recovery requires lots of rest and pain medication, but many people are able to return to their normal routine in just a few weeks.

Consider this and all surgical options very carefully before making any major decisions.