The newest of the weight loss operations is the sleeve gastrectomy. With this procedure, the outer crescent of the stomach is removed resulting in a stomach that resembles a tube. About 75% of the stomach is removed and the remaining 'sleeve' is generally 3-5 ounces in capacity. The intestines are not changed. Patients lose weight for similar reasons to the gastric bypass. The stomach holds less food and patients usually feel less hungry. The portion of the stomach that is removed is the area of the stomach where a major hormone that regulates appetite is produced. There are also some metabolic changes as is seen with the gastric bypass but to a lesser extent.
In many respects, the sleeve can be considered the compromise between the gastric bypass and the band for both weight loss results and complications. The operation takes about 75 minutes to perform and the hospital stay is 1-2 days. The major complications include leakage from the staple line (1-2%), narrowing of the sleeve (2%) and bleeding (2%). Like the gastric bypass, after the sleeve gastrectomy, patients may not absorb enough vitamins from their diet alone and must take daily vitamin supplements.
Watch Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy video with Scott A. Shikora, MD, Director, Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at BWH.