What Is a Sleeve Gastrectomy?

by William Fuller, MD

Scripps Health Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. William Fuller, provides information on the sleeve gastrectomy procedure.

by William Fuller, MD

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a surgery designed to help patients reduce their weight by removing as much as 80 percent of the stomach. The remaining stomach is formed into a tube, like a sleeve. Though the stomach is reshaped, no other organs are altered. This procedure is a good option for people who are severely obese (body mass index above 35) and have been unable to bring down their weight by other means.

In addition to significantly reducing the size of the stomach, the procedure also removes parts of the stomach that produce hormones associated with hunger. As a result, after surgery is performed, patients tend to feel less hungry between meals.

This is a viable alternative to gastric bypass surgery. Most patients lose less weight than with gastric bypass; however, they also avoid some of the side effects associated with gastric bypass, such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

It’s important to note that this procedure is not a magic bullet. People who have received a gastric sleeve procedure still have to exercise and eat correctly. Ultimately, the reward for losing weight is improved overall health. In addition, surgical weight loss patients can reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

This Scripps Health and Wellness tip was provided by William Fuller, MD, an bariatric and general surgeon at Scripps Clinic in San Diego.