Vertical (Sleeve) Gastrectomy
The operation and how it works
The Vertical (Sleeve) Gastrectomy procedure causes weight loss by restricting food intake. In this procedure, the surgeon removes about 60 percent of the stomach, so that the stomach is the shape of a narrow tube or "sleeve." This procedure also allows the person to experience a sense of fullness after a small meal but does not cause malabsorption of calories or nutrients.
In most patients, this procedure is done laparoscopically. It takes about an hour in the operating room, and people typically leave the hospital on the day after surgery.
The most recent data suggest that patients who have undergone Laparoscopic Vertical Gastrectomy surgery will lose 40-50% of their excess body weight, at about one year post-operatively.
At this time, not all insurance companies are authorizing this type of surgery. While there are significant advantages to this operation, particularly for people who take many medications for diseases that are unlikely to improve with weight loss (such as mental illness or rheumatoid arthritis), there remain some questions regarding the long-term weight maintenance. There are a few recent scientific articles that address this, and the outlook is promising, but many insurance companies are waiting for more information.
Complications from the Laparosopic Vertical Gastrectomy procedure include leakage, along the staple line where the stomach was removed. People who have weight loss surgery are particularly vulnerable to blood clots in the leg, called deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which can travel to the lungs, called pulmonary embolism. Because the Laparoscopic Vertical Gastrectomy procedure is shorter than the Gastric Bypass, the risk of DVT is slightly less.