Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 15% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach, following the major curve. The open edges are then attached together (often with surgical staples) to form a sleeve or tube with a banana shape. The procedure permanently reduces the size of the stomach. The procedure is performed laparoscopically and is not reversible.
Sleeve gastrectomy is usually performed on extremely obese patients, with a body mass index of 40 or more, where the risk of performing a gastric bypass or duodenal switch procedure may be too large. A two-stage procedure is performed: the first is a sleeve gastrectomy, and the second is a conversion into a gastric bypass or duodenal switch. Patients usually lose a large quantity of their excess weight after the first sleeve gastrectomy procedure alone, but if weight loss ceases the second step is performed.
For patients who are obese but not extremely obese, sleeve gastrectomy alone is a suitable operation with minimum risks. Some surgeons even prefer it over gastric banding, because it eliminates the need of having to insert a foreign body. The sleeve gastrectomy currently is acceptable weight loss surgery option for obese patients as a single procedure. Most surgeons prefer to use a bougie between 32 - 40 Fr with the procedure and the approximate remaining size of the stomach after the procedure is about 2 ounces.
Like any surgical operation, sleeve gastrectomy has possible complications, such as leakage, dilation of the sleeve (which allows for more food intake) and other usual complications associated with bariatric surgery. Patients are advised not to smoke after undergoing sleeve gastrectomy as smoking would cause serious complications.