Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Efficacy, Results

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery or sleeve gastrectomy is a bariatric surgical procedure used to help individuals lose weight rapidly as a step in a process to keep it off.

When undergoing this surgery, the patient will have approximately 85% of the stomach removed. This will then leave a sleeve-shaped stomach in its place.

How Does Gastric Sleeve Work?

By reducing the size of the stomach significantly, surgeons reduce the ability for patients to eat as they once did, which changes how their body loses weight. This places limitations on the quantity of food a patient can take in, as well as what types of food the patient can eat. When the stomach size has been reduced through the surgery, the patient is more selective in what and how they eat.

The gastric sleeve surgery is meant to induce lifestyle changes rather than to be a “magic pill” for weight loss. As one of several types of bariatric surgeries, it becomes necessary to weigh the pros and cons of the gastric sleeve to determine its efficacy. According to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, obese patients who undergo laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy can effectively keep the weight off post-surgery.

Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Work?

One study indicated that patients undergoing the procedure lost 57.4% of their excessive BMI over a period of five years following the surgery. This surgery is typically regarded as the first step in a two-step surgical process, the second of which is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or duodenal switch. As these are more invasive operations, some patients will undergo only the initial surgery, the gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy.

Numerous studies have shown the positive long-term impact of this surgical procedure.

  1. A study by the Journal of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases found that the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy provided significant long-term effects in morbidly obese patients suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  2. The Federation of Digestive Diseases in France indicated in 2009 that approximately 12 months following surgical procedures on 113 female and 22 male patients, the average patient had decreased their body mass index (BMI) and had experienced long-term weight loss.
  3. 36 studies involving 2570 different patients have shown that laparoscopic gastric sleeve operations provide effective weight loss over the span of years following the surgery. Three year and five-year follow-up data have been able to show that patients continually experience natural, safe weight loss for years following the operation.
  4. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists provided information about a 68-patient study. Patients underwent the operation between August of 2004 and December 2007. The average excessive BMI patients lost one-year post-op was 61.5%, followed by 61.1% two years after the operation. At five years, the average amount of excess BMI lost by patients was 57.4%. The study indicated that the main weight is lost during the initial year, but weight loss continues for several years following the operation.
  5. Many studies indicate that some patients who undergo laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy still have a BMI above 35 several years following their surgical procedure. This has been especially true for patients who previously underwent a failed gastric banding procedure, according to information provided by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
  6. There were four patients in the aforementioned study who were insulin-dependent. Five years following the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, only one continued to require insulin therapy. Two of the patients switched to oral anti-diabetic therapy and the remaining patient was in full remission five years after the surgery.

As data continues to surface regarding the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and its success rate, surgeons will better be able to display the efficacy of the operation and the results that it can help to achieve. There are both positive and negative aspects of this operation just as with any other, so it is essential to consider the benefits and the risk factors when choosing whether or not to undergo this procedure.