Gastric sleeve surgery is one of several types of bariatric surgeries and procedures designed to help people lose weight. Although there are multiple options for bariatric procedures, the overwhelming majority of people find that a gastric sleeve (or just "the sleeve") is the best option for several reasons.
If you are on the fence about what type of bariatric surgery you want, the deciding factor might be what option is more accessible. Bariatric surgeons, in general, might be limited in many areas, but the ones that perform other types of bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass and duodenal switch are even fewer. People who want gastric bypass and especially duodenal switch may find they have to go to another part of their state or even another state to find a surgeon that performs these types of surgeries. Not only is traveling far away difficult considering there will be multiple appointments, including consultations before surgery and follow-ups after surgery, it is also difficult during the recovery process. Many people find they must stay in a hotel in the days following the surgery just in case they develop complications. Another concern is the procedure may not be covered by insurance if the surgeon is not local. Generally, people find the sleeve to be more accessible to them.
The primary reason there are more bariatric surgeons that perform gastric sleeve surgery is that it is less complicated than gastric bypass and duodenal switch. Gastric sleeve surgery only involves changes in the stomach to restrict food intake. Up to 80% of the stomach is removed by cutting away the outer curvature of the stomach. Both the gastric bypass and duodenal switch involve manipulation of the intestines in addition to reducing the size of the stomach. The sleeve can also be done either laparoscopically or as an open procedure, depending on your specific situation. Generally, people who have a very large abdomen may be restricted to an open procedure. Other variables can affect whether the surgery is done laparoscopically or open, such as adhesions or scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries. Although the surgery may be planned to be laparoscopic, the surgeon may need to switch to an open procedure if they encounter problems during the surgery.
Fewer Nutritional Needs
People who have gastric bypass and duodenal switch can have profound nutritional needs after the procedure since both involve changes to the intestines that create malabsorption. With the sleeve, it is important to have a supplement regimen because your intake of food is less, even more so in the months after the procedure when your ability to intake food is even less. Since the absorption of your intestines has not changed, your small intestine can continue to absorb nutrients as normal. People who have gastric bypass and duodenal switch need to be more diligent with their supplement intake. This includes incorporating protein shakes to be certain they are consuming enough protein to prevent muscle atrophy. Additionally, these procedures may require more blood work to test for nutrient deficiencies than the sleeve requires. People who have duodenal switch may require regular blood work indefinitely.
Gastric sleeve surgery is often the preferred method of bariatric surgery, especially in people that are not morbidly obese or those who do not urgently need to reduce their weight quickly for medical reasons. There are significant benefits of the sleeve over other options. Contact a local surgeon to learn more about gastric sleeve surgery.