Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management offers a number of innovative bariatric procedures for those patients in need of timely and lasting weight loss solutions – that includes the Gastric Sleeve.
The Gastric Sleeve is a surgical procedure that presents the least amount of change necessary to the patient’s digestive system while also offering the route to sizable and lasting change.
A restrictive surgery, the Gastric Sleeve offers fewer permanent limitations than that of a Gastric Bypass– though it is a permanent procedure in and of itself. And it is an excellent option for those people facing the myriad health concerns presented by obesity.
That said, the Gastric Sleeve is not a procedure to be undertaken lightly and is only reserved for those patients facing serious health issues that meet a number of criteria.
How the Gastric Sleeve Works
The gastric sleeve procedure, also called the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, inhibits the amount of food you can eat by removing about two-thirds of the stomach. Unlike the gastric bypass, no other aspect of the digestive system is affected, so your anatomy will not inhibit your food choices, only the amount you consume.
However, this procedure carries with it the realization that, in order to obtain optimum weight loss, a higher level of commitment is required from the patient – even more so than in other bariatric surgeries.
A permanent procedure, the Gastric Sleeve surgery removes a large portion of the patient’s stomach and leaves it in a tube or sleeve shape that can contain about a half to a full cup of food.
Unlike with the Gastric Bypass procedure, the Gastric Sleeve does not lead to the “dumping effect” in your digestive tract. (The dumping effect occurs if you eat carbohydrates, including sugar, after gastric bypass surgery. The passage of carbs into your small intestine causes an immediate outpouring of fluid into the bowel and a release of insulin into the blood stream. As a result, you feel nausea, cramping and diarrhea for about 20 to 30 minutes. Called “dumping syndrome,” this side effect helps keep you from eating the wrong foods for the rest of your life.)
The Gastric Sleeve avoids the chance of the dumping effect because, during the procedure, the intestine remains untouched, so you have the freedom throughout your life to eat sweets and other carbohydrate-rich foods.
Leaving this option open is a strong draw for some patients. However, this can also offer a downside to the procedure, because it heightens the patient’s risk of weight regain, as dumping syndrome can act as a very real and painful reminder of what not to do. So, you may need to ask yourself, do you prefer the carrot or the whip? They are all questions that we discuss in depth during your consultations with our staff.
The Gastric Sleeve procedure also helps decrease the production of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin, which is secreted by the stomach, causes feelings of hunger; with that hormone production decreased you will feel less hungry.
There is also no foreign body implanted, as with an adjustable gastric band – a procedure which has led to complications for some patients.
That said, you will still be in control of your eating habits and routine and, in order to experience ultimate success, you must stay disciplined and dedicated. While the procedure provides significant initial weight loss, you are quite capable of regaining all your previous weight if you fail to adhere to the guidelines that we formulate with you in pre- and post-surgery consultations.
Results from a Sleeve Gastrectomy
Like with gastric banding, the average weight loss experience with a gastric sleeve over 2 years runs about 50-60 percent of excess weight.
For those patients who battle extreme obesity, this procedure offers a hopeful method to kickstart a drive back toward healthy living. But that is exactly what the Gastric Sleeve – and all other bariatric surgeries – represent. These procedures are a tool in the pursuit of healthy living. Yes, they offer a clear and obvious path to health, but, without a total commitment from the patient to change, it is in no way a “cure” for weight problems.
Like all surgical weight loss patients, those who have undergone a Gastric Sleeve must not only stick to a specific amount of food, but also stick to a diet based around quality protein intake. Gastric Sleeve surgery patients are also asked to take plenty of vitamins and avoid all carbonated beverages.
For the obese, they are changes that prove worthwhile. Curing obesity through either surgical or nonsurgical weight loss, can lead to the reversal of or relief from a number of health concerns that obesity inflicts.
A recognized medical condition – not just a perception of “laziness” as some outside the medical community would have you believe – obesity is recognized by the National Institute of Health as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above. BMI is obtained by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. Untreated, obesity can lead to a host of other health problems, including:
- Pulmonary Disease (includes abnormal function, sleep apnea, hypoventilation syndrome)
- Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (includes steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis)
- Gall Bladder Disease
- Gynecological abnormalities (includes abnormal menses, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Cancer (includes breast, uterus, cervix, colon, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, prostate)
- Coronary Heart Disease (includes dyslipidemia, hypertension)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
Studies show that consequential weight loss reduces these issues in many patients by a significant percentage. There is also a 95 percent improvement in the quality of life for patients, while five-year mortality rates drop by 89 percent.
In other words, obesity is a significant issue that cannot be ignored in order to maintain good health. The Gastric Sleeve provides a concrete method to help patients conquer their weight problems, and the Center for Weight Management staff is ready to help you through each step of the process.
Like all surgeries, the Gastric Sleeve does carry with it some risks, but it is also a relatively routine procedure – one that has provided impressive results for a number of Center for Weight Management patients.
Christine’s Gastric Sleeve Testimonial
It Can Be Turned into a Gastric Bypass
Not that you ever want to undergo one surgery just to set up a second, but the Gastric Sleeve can serve as the first stage in a Gastric Bypass.
If your weight loss falls short, you can intensify your body’s ability to support your food choices and add the intestinal bypass portion as a second-stage surgery later.
As long as you adhere to the diet restrictions that our experienced staff sets for you, that should not be a problem. Featuring a dedicated team of doctors and nurses, as well as a qualified dietician, Longstreet Clinic offers a complete and in-depth solution to all of your weight loss needs.
Advantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- The smaller stomach still functions normally, so you can tolerate most foods, including meats and fibrous vegetables, just in small amounts
- Can later be converted to a Roux-En-Y gastric bypass, if desired
- Eliminates the upper portion of the stomach that produces hormones that stimulate hunger (ghrelin), so your appetite often lessens and you feel sated (full) much easier
- Less acid secretion, so less chance of an ulcer
- Because the intestine remains intact, less chance of intestinal obstruction (blockage), anemia, osteoporosis, and protein and vitamin deficiency
- No adjustments or foreign bodies that may cause obstruction, slippage or erosion
Disadvantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Not reversible, because part of the stomach is removed
- Weight loss may be more difficult or lessened without the intestinal bypass
- The body still tolerates carb-rich and high-fat foods, which can slow weight loss
- No dumping syndrome (discomfort from eating foods rich in carbs, which sounds like an advantage. But some patients require that discomfort to keep them from regressing.)
- Because stomach stapling is involved, a potential for leaks and other complications exists
- May not yet be covered by insurance companies as it’s still considered an investigational procedure
Additional information about Gastric Sleeve Surgery
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Scott’s Gastric Sleeve Testimonial