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Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a procedure that involves the removal of the outer margin of the stomach to restrict the intake of food to a certain degree. After the procedure, only the pylorus, a muscle that regulates the passage of food from the stomach into the intestine, and a sleeve of the stomach, roughly the size of a banana, are all that remain.

The procedure allows the patient to feel full after eating fewer calories. During this surgery, the part of the stomach which produces the Ghrelin hormones that cause hunger pangs is removed.

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy is a fairly simple procedure as it does not involve rerouting of or reconnection of the intestines. In contrast to the Lap-band, sleeve gastrectomy does not call for the implanting of a banding device around a part of the stomach.

Ideal Candidate for Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

For one to be considered for the procedure, they should:

  • Have a BMI of 35 or more
  • In addition to being overweight, they should have obesity-related conditions like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, all of which can be treated with weight loss
  • Have tried to lose weight by eating healthy and exercising for at least 6 months without success
  • Be fit enough for general anesthesia and surgery
  • Be ready and dedicated to modifying his/her diet and lifestyle not only to lose weight, but to maintain the weight loss

Possible Risk Factors and Complications

Risks and complications are inevitable with any form of surgery. However, individuals who undergo the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy are usually monitored closely after the procedure to minimize these risks.

Some of the possible risks of the procedure include:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling around the incisions
  • Infection
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clotting
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Leaks from the cut edge of the stomach

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy is performed by a bariatric surgeon using keyhole surgery under general anesthesia and takes about two hours. During the procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions in the patient’s stomach to insert the laparoscope and other surgical tools to divide the stomach.

A smaller tube-shaped stomach is created by surgically removing the right portion of the stomach, which contains the Ghrelin hormones, and sectioning off the left half of the stomach with staples.

The new stomach is tubular in shape and has been shrunk while keeping the sphincter muscles in the upper and lower stomach.

Upon completion of the procedure, the surgeon uses dissolving sutures and sterile tape to seal the incision site to promote healing.

Post-Op Guidelines After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • The patient will be prescribed pain medication
  • The patient is allowed to only drink clear liquids on the first day after surgery. He/she remains on a liquid diet, gradually graduating to soft and moist foods, and after four weeks to six weeks, can start taking solid foods
  • After the procedure, the patient should refrain from doing any rigorous activities
  • Following gastric sleeve surgery, majority of patients can resume their regular activities in two to four weeks, but this varies from one patient to the next

Benefits of Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Some of the benefits of Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure include:

  • Compared to the gastric band, the sleeve often results in faster weight loss
  • Food intolerance is decreased compared to gastric banding
  • It does not involve implantation of any band device
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