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Step 6: Vertical sleeve gastrectomy
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Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is surgery to help with weight loss. The procedure does not change the way your body absorbs and uses nutrients.

During the procedure, a surgeon will remove most of your stomach (about 80 - 85%). The remaining parts of your stomach are joined together with staples. As a result, a much smaller stomach, shaped like a banana, remains.

When you eat, this small pouch will fill quickly, so that you feel full after eating just a very small amount of food.

The benefits of vertical sleeve gastrectomy

  • Losing enough weight after surgery can improve many medical problems you might also have. Conditions that may improve are asthma, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and gastroesophageal disease (GERD).
  • Weighing less should also make it much easier for you to move around and do your everyday activities.
  • The average weight loss is 40 perecent of a person's excess weight. It usually takes 2 to 3 years to lose this weight.

The potential complications of vertical sleeve gastrectomy

In addition to the usual risks for any surgery involving general anesthesia, the risks specific to vertical sleeve gastrectomy include:

  • Injury to your stomach, intestines, or other organs during surgery
  • Leaking from the line where parts of the stomach have been stapled together
  • Scarring inside your belly. This could lead to a future obstruction (blockage) in your bowel
  • Gastritis (inflamed stomach lining), heartburn, or stomach ulcers
  • Poor nutrition, although much less than what gastric bypass surgery may cause
  • Vomiting from eating more than your stomach pouch can hold

As a result of this surgery, you must be able to make major changes in your lifestyle after surgery. You should visit a mental health provider to make sure you are emotionally ready.


Clinical Issues Committee of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Updated position statement on sleeve gastrectomy as a bariatric procedure. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2010;6:1-5.

Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2012.


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Review Date: 12/16/2012
Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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