Sep 13

What is Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrostomy?

gastric sleeve surgeryLaparoscopic sleeve gastrostomy or gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical procedure that is intended to help patients lose weight and reduce the chance of serious obesity-related conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis or sleep apnea. It is called “sleeve gastrostomy” because the operation removes a large portion of the stomach, leaving a structure that looks like a tube or a “gastric sleeve”. The term “laparoscopic surgery” means that the operation is performed using a laparoscope, an instrument that enables the surgeon to perform the procedure through a very small incision in the abdomen.

This form of bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery) may reduce the size of the stomach by as much as 85%, but it does not alter the route that food takes while passing through the intestinal tract. Because of this, the digestion and absorption of food continues naturally and there is less risk of losing vitamins or nutrients such as iron and calcium. Another common type of bariatric surgery, called “gastric bypass surgery”, does change that route; it bypasses part of the stomach and small intestine. After surgery, gastric sleeve patients have to take less supplements than gastric bypass ones.

During gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach’s volume may be reduced to only 15% of its former capacity. Therefore, the patient feels full by eating a much smaller amount. Also, the section of stomach removed in gastric sleeve surgery is responsible for producing ghrelin, a hormone that plays a part in regulating appetite. It is thought that following gastric sleeve surgery, there should be less ghrelin and therefore a reduction in feelings of hunger.

All surgeries involve some risk, but because laparoscopic weight-loss surgery involves such a small incision, the chance of surgical complications is lowered. Laparoscopy procedures result in less scarring, reduced exposure of internal organs to contamination, lower infection rates and less blood loss. Hospital stays are shortened and post-operative pain is less common and less severe. All of these advantages make weight-loss surgery a safer and more attractive alternative.

weight lossFollowing gastric sleeve surgery, the patient can expect to lose a large amount of excess weight and therefore reduce his or her chance of developing weight-related medical conditions like diabetes. How successful the patient is in accomplishing these goals depends in large part on their adherence to good medical advice. Bariatric surgery patients including those having a gastric sleeve laparoscopy procedure must watch their diets carefully. Some foods like nuts or vegetable peels should be avoided because of the difficulties related to digestion. High fat and calorie dense foods may have to be cut or avoided.

If you are considering laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery, you should expect a procedure that is performed in a hospital under a general anesthetic. The procedure itself may last one to three hours and most patients will spend two or three days in the hospital after the operation. Returning to your normal lifestyle will require two or three weeks depending on your specific condition. After the surgery, it is essential that you follow the lifestyle advice given by your surgeon and bariatric clinic doctors. During the post-operative period, you will be on a liquid or semi-liquid diet as determined by your physician.

No form of weight-loss surgery is a first-line treatment in the effort to control obesity. None of them are undertaken until other measures have failed to help the patient; however, when used appropriately these procedures can improve and sometimes cure medical problems that are associated with obesity. Patients who are considering any procedure such as gastric sleeve surgery, gastric band surgery or gastric bypass surgery should get knowledgeable opinions from surgeons and other physicians at a bariatric clinic, such as Dr. Christian Birkedal. Each clinical situation is unique and a procedure that is appropriate to one patient may not be well suited to another.

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