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Bariatric Surgery: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Bariatric surgery is surgery that helps you lose weight. During vertical sleeve gastrectomy, most of the stomach is removed. A vertical “sleeve” of stomach remains. This sleeve holds a few tablespoons of food. Food passes slowly through a narrow opening at the bottom of the pouch. So you feel full longer. The part of the stomach that makes you feel hungry is removed. So you will feel less hungry between meals.

Front view of stomach and first part of small intestine. Stomach has been cut to form small pouch at top. Rest of stomach is removed. Staples close off cut edges. Arrow shows path of food from small pouch to small intestine.

The Procedure

This surgery can be done using one of two approaches:

  • For laparoscopic surgery, several small incisions are made in your abdomen. During the procedure, surgical instruments are inserted through these small incisions. The surgeon operates by looking at the organs on a video monitor.

  • For open surgery (also called laparotomy), one larger incision is made. The surgery sees and works through this incision.

Using either type of approach, the stomach is cut lengthwise (up and down). A part of the stomach is removed. The remaining stomach is closed off with staples. This creates a narrower stomach in the shape of a banana.

Special Note: The Gallbladder

Bariatric surgery is designed to cause a large amount of weight loss. Weight loss can cause deposits in the gallbladder called gallstones. To prevent this, the gallbladder may be removed during your surgery or at a later date.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bessler, Marc, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Wetter, L Albert, MD
Last Review Date: 3/27/2012
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