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Advantages and Disadvantages of Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Advantages

  • Reduces stomach capacity but tends to allow the stomach to function normally so most food items can be consumed, albeit in small amounts.
  • Eliminates the portion of the stomach that produces the hormones that stimulates hunger (Ghrelin).
  • Dumping syndrome is avoided or minimized because the pylorus is preserved.
  • Minimizes the chance of an ulcer occurring.
  • By avoiding the intestinal bypass, almost eliminates the chance of intestinal obstruction (blockage), marginal ulcers, anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency.
  • Very effective as a first stage procedure for high BMI patients (BMI > 55 kg/m2).
  • Limited results appear promising as a single stage procedure for low BMI patients (BMI 30-50 kg/m2).
  • Appealing option for people who are concerned about the complications of intestinal bypass procedures or who have existing anemia, Crohn’s disease and numerous other conditions that make them too high risk for intestinal bypass procedures.
  • Appealing option for people who are concerned about the foreign body aspect of Banding procedures.
  • Can be done laparoscopically in patients weighing over 500 pounds, thereby providing all the advantages of minimally invasive surgery: fewer wound and lung problems, less pain, and faster recovery.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Disadvantages

  • Potential for inadequate weight loss or weight regain. While this is true for all procedures, it is theoretically more possible with procedures that do not have an intestinal bypass. 
  • Higher BMI patients will most likely need to have a second stage procedure later to help lose the rest of the weight. Remember, two stages may ultimately be safer and more effective than one operation for high BMI patients. This is an active point of discussion for bariatric surgeons.
  • Soft calories such as ice cream, milk shakes, etc can be absorbed and may slow weight loss.
  • This procedure does involve stomach stapling and therefore leaks and other complications related to stapling may occur.
  • Because the stomach is removed, it is not reversible. It can be converted to almost any other weight loss procedure.
  • Considered investigational by some surgeons and insurance companies.

Next: >> Frequently Asked Questions About Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

This information has been provided courtesy of Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco (LAPSF). Please visit the Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco.