Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Effective weight loss surgery

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is the newest surgical procedure available to help severely overweight patients lose weight. The VSG is the restrictive portion of the duodenal switch procedure, which is generally reserved for patients who weigh 450 to 600 pounds. The procedure involves removing a large portion of the stomach, changing the stomach into a narrow tube. The remaining stomach is similar in size and shape to a banana.

VSG is a restrictive procedure requiring no intestinal transection or re-routing. This makes the VSG much safer than the gastric bypass. Approximately 70% of the stomach is removed and the remaining tubular stomach can only hold about 80 cc of fluid or around 5 bites of solid food. Patients can only eat small amounts of food before feeling full, similar to the LAP-BAND® procedure. Unlike the Lap-Band® procedure, no adjustments are required so fewer follow-up visits are required.

Since a portion of the stomach is removed, the procedure is considered non-reversible. Risks particular to the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy include bleeding from the staple line staple line leak, stricture formation, pouch dilation, and GERD (chronic heart burn) symptoms. Long term results (>5 years) are not yet available.

Results & outcomes

Every individual and outcome is different, however, the majority of patients who have undergone this procedure have lost a majority of their excess body weight and many never require the second stage of the duodenal switch procedure. Similar success has been seen in patients undergoing the procedure with lower BMIs as well.

Bariatric surgeons began performing the VSG as a standalone procedure in the US in 2001. The last 3 years has seen a rapid rise in the number of VSG procedures performed at bariatric centers across the country. Recently, a number of bariatric surgery centers have published their experience with the VSG surgery. Weight loss seen in VSG patients both short and long term is very encouraging.

Patients undergoing the vertical sleeve gastrectomy have been noted to experience more weight loss and a faster rate of weight loss compared to patients who underwent the LAP-BAND® procedure. Of course, weight loss varies based on the individual – to see which option is best for you, we suggest speaking with one of our specialists.