The Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure generates weight loss by restricting the amount of food (and therefore calories) that can be eaten by removing 75 percent or more of the stomach without bypassing the intestines or causing any gastrointestinal malabsorption. The stomach is restricted by stapling and dividing it vertically and removing more than 75 percent of it.
The stomach that remains is shaped like a very slim banana and measures from one to five ounces depending on the surgeon performing the procedure. The nerves to the stomach and the outlet valve remain intact with the idea of preserving the functions of the stomach while drastically reducing the volume.
Advantages to the sleeve gastrectomy procedure:
- The stomach is reduced in volume but continues to function normally so most food items can be consumed in small amounts.
- The portion of the stomach that produces the hormones that stimulates hunger is eliminated.
- There is no dumping syndrome because the pylorus is preserved.
- Minimization of the chance of an ulcer occurring.
- By avoiding the intestinal bypass, the chance of intestinal obstruction, anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency are almost eliminated.
- The procedure has been show to be very effective as a first stage procedure for high BMI patients and results appear promising as a single stage procedure for low BMI patients.
- The procedure may also be an appealing option for people with existing anemia, Crohn's disease and numerous other conditions that make them too high risk for intestinal bypass procedures.
What is Laparoscopic Surgery?
When a laparoscopic operation is performed, a small video camera is inserted into the abdomen. The surgeon views the procedure on a separate video monitor. Most laparoscopic surgeons believe this gives them better visualization and access to key anatomical structures.
The camera and surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions made in the abdominal wall. This approach is considered less invasive because it replaces the need for one long incision to open the abdomen. A recent study shows that patients having had laparoscopic weight loss surgery experience less pain after surgery resulting in easier breathing and lung function and higher overall oxygen levels. Other realized benefits with laparoscopy have been fewer wound complications such as infection or hernia, and patients returning more quickly to pre-surgical levels of activity.
Laparoscopic procedures for weight loss surgery employ the same principles as their "open" counterparts and produce similar excess weight loss. Not all patients are candidates for this approach.