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What Makes the Gastric Sleeve So Effective?

Posted on: 14th Jul, 2014

Anyone investigating bariatric surgery will hear about the gastric sleeve. It’s a bariatric procedure that involves removing 75 to 80% of the stomach. Here’s what makes the gastric sleeve so effective.

The Original Role of Gastric Sleeve

Gastric sleeve was once the first step of a two-part surgery. It was performed first for two reasons — it was safer, and it was simpler. It was correctly assumed that high-risk patients could undergo the sleeve procedure with far less risk than the gastric bypass. Plus, the instrumentation had already been developed that allowed surgeons to trim off a portion of the stomach without difficulty. But as patients who had the sleeve procedure continued to surpass expectations of weight loss and health improvements, researchers began questioning whether the sleeve might work well enough by itself instead of as part one of a two-step surgical intervention.

Each year, weight-loss results paralleled those of the more invasive gastric bypass procedure — without the complications — and the rates of diabetes resolution appeared nearly equal. And each year, researchers asked why the sleeve worked better than most experts had expected.

The Role of Metabolism and the Body Weight Set Point

The answer appears to lie in the new understanding of body weight metabolism and the body weight set point. Elegant research from labs around the world has demonstrated that a key feature in the body’s defense of higher body weight comes from the cells of the stomach lining, right in the part of the stomach being removed with the sleeve. In the normal stomach, contact on the gastric lining from ingested food stimulates hormonal responses that ultimately make us heavier and hungrier.

With the sleeve, this portion of the stomach is removed and the hormonal responses are blunted. Combined with the significant shrinkage of the size of the stomach, this change in gastric hormones appears to account for the complete loss of hunger and the permanent weight loss that most people experience after the sleeve. We are now about sixteen years into our worldwide experience with the gastric sleeve, and the data appears as convincing as ever. The safer, simpler surgery has indeed proven to be safer and simpler, and the results have exceeded expectations. Most people maintain their healthier, lower body weight and enjoy the improvements in health and quality of life that result from a reduced body weight.

Are You a Candidate?

Potential candidates for the gastric sleeve include adults struggling with their weight who are physically and mentally healthy enough for surgery. If you’re considering bariatric weight loss surgery, we invite you to contact Dr. Sasse in Reno to learn more.

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