Why We Believe in the Benefits of the Gastric Sleeve Procedure
Over the course of the past several decades, bariatric procedures of all kinds have blossomed and waned in popularity. One of the procedures that shows the most promise, now and in the future, for a wide spectrum of obese patients is the gastric sleeve, otherwise known as the sleeve gastrectomy.
We believe the gastric sleeve to be a very effective procedure for most bariatric surgery patients both because of the way it is performed and some of the unique benefits it offers. First and foremost, the sleeve has actually been employed successfully for much longer than some may think. Years ago, it was employed as the first part of the duodenal switch procedure. Over time, bariatric surgeons realized that the gastric sleeve was very effective on its own. Oftentimes, patients lost enough weight with a gastric sleeve alone, that the second phase of the duodenal switch was not even necessary.
The sleeve is also special because of its simplicity. Approximately 70% of the stomach pouch is cut away and removed from the abdomen. What’s left is a long, thin gastric tube somewhat resembling a sleeve – hence the name. Not only does it physically shrink the size of the stomach, but it does not significantly alter the digestive process. The gastric sleeve also offers an exceptional and unique benefit for some patients – fewer hunger pangs. In fact, the gastric sleeve is the only procedure that removes the fundus of the stomach, which regulates the secretion of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. By removing the fundus, some patients feel less hungry after surgery. This is important because hunger is a very difficult part of postsurgical life – most other bariatric procedures including the bypass and band do not offer this benefit. Rather, they help reduce caloric intake without addressing the root hunger.
Of course, every patient is unique. As such, only a consultation with Dr. Chang can yield the best solution for a patient’s particular situation. We are encouraged by the gastric sleeve’s exceptional track record over the past years and that is why we consider it to be the most versatile and promising of any major bariatric procedures currently available.