The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive form of weight loss surgery in which approximately 85% of the stomach is removed leaving a cylindrical or sleeve shaped stomach with a capacity ranging from about 60 to 150 cc, depending upon the surgeon performing the procedure. Unlike many other forms of bariatric surgery, the outlet valve and the nerves to the stomach remain intact and, while the stomach is drastically reduced in size, its function is preserved. Again, unlike other forms of surgery such as the Roux en Y gastric bypass, the sleeve gastrectomy is not reversible.
Because the new stomach continues to function normally there are far fewer restrictions on the foods which patients can consume after surgery, albeit that the quantity of food eaten will be considerably reduced. This is seen by many patients as being one of the great advantages of the sleeve gastrectomy, as is the fact that the removal of the majority of the stomach also results in the virtual elimination of hormones produced within the stomach which stimulate hunger.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the gastric sleeve lies in the fact that it does not involve any bypass of the intestinal tract and patients do not therefore suffer the complications of intestinal bypass such as intestinal obstruction, anemia, osteoporosis, vitamin deficiency and protein deficiency. It also makes it a suitable form of surgery for patients who are already suffering from anemia, Crohn's disease and a variety of other conditions that would place them at high risk for surgery involving intestinal bypass.
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