Laparoscopic Surgery Tools Used in Gastric Sleeve Procedures

This is an informational article only and does not reflect your experience with A Lighter Me.

Laparoscopy is a type of medical procedure that involves making very small incisions in the abdomen or the pelvis and inserting a tiny camera that operators can use to display on a screen what’s going on underneath the skin.

The gastric sleeve weight loss procedure started out as an open procedure, but it eventually became a laparoscopic procedure, which is results in a quicker recovery and less scarring.

These procedures require specific laparoscopic tools that are designed to be pushed through the incisions and allow surgeons to perform the surgery without actually entering the abdomen.

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To give prospective patients an idea of how these procedures are performed, we’ve put together a list and described the most important tools used in laparoscopic surgery.

Diagram of how laparoscopic surgery is performed for gastric sleeve procedures.


Being able to see inside the abdomen is critical for laparoscopy procedures, which is why the laparoscope is so important; It’s equipped with a camera that displays live video of a patient’s abdomen on a large high-resolution monitor. There is no delay in the video feed.

Using the laparoscope, surgeons can see all the organs as the tool is being inserted. Without this tool, laparoscopic surgery would not be possible.


In gastric sleeve procedures, surgeons must create access points for all the required tools. Those openings are made using a device called a trocar, which is a long, narrow rod with a sharp, triangular point. Trocars are also used to assist with the process of draining fluids.

There are different sizes of trocars, and they’re available in both bladed and non-bladed designs. Trocars with blades are also available with or without shields.

Most trocars are designed inside a cannula, which is a hollow tube that can be inserted into a body. A cannula is an extremely common tool used in a wide variety of medical procedures. There may be several trocars used during a gastric sleeve procedure.

Veress Needle

This piece of equipment is used to create pneumatosis, which is the presence of gas in the abdominal area. The veress needle expels carbon dioxide into the abdomen, causing it to expand and inflate.

By inflating the abdomen, surgeons have more room to maneuver and increased visibility, which leads to fewer mistakes and decreases the odds of causing any complications.

Bougie Tube

This is basically a long, flexible tube that serves as a guideline for the size of a patient’s new stomach. It’s inserted into a patient’s stomach during surgery. After a patient’s stomach has been resized, the tube is removed.

Graspers and Dissectors

Surgeons may need to move abdominal tissue to make it easier to see what they’re doing. Graspers are critical in achieving the movement of the tissue, and they prevent surgeons from having to cut open the abdomen, which is highly invasive and increases recovery time.

There are multiple types of graspers, including the bullet nose grasper, the Hunter bowel grasper, the crocodile grasper, the raptor grasper and the Dorsey intestinal fenestrated grasper.

Dissectors also are used to manipulate and separate tissue within the abdomen. There are multiple styles of this tool as well, including the Maryland design and the bipolar design.


A stapler is used to divide the stomach; it’s typically used multiple times until the stomach has been separated into two parts: the new stomach and the part that will be removed. The staples are extremely close together so the new stomach is sealed and does not leak.

Needle Driver

This tool is used to hold suturing needles when a surgeon is closing wounds. Needle drivers are available in straight and curved forms; surgeons will opt for one or the other based on their experience and skill.

Surgical Mesh

A person who’s considering weight loss surgery will sometimes have a hernia as well. While surgeons are performing the weight loss procedure, they can also repair small hernias by using surgical mesh to reinforce the area and promote natural tissue growth.

Laparoscopic Tools Vary by Surgeon

It’s important to note that the style of each tool used in a given operation will often vary, depending on each surgeon’s personal preferences. Different surgeons may have different ways of performing the surgery, which requires different styles of tools.

Keep in mind that as advances are made in the medical field, surgeons may turn to other methods to perform the same surgery. But it never hurts to find out exactly how your prospective surgeon will perform your operation, so be sure to do your research.

If you have any questions about the bariatric surgical methods or specific laparoscopic tools we use at A Lighter Me, please contact us.