Stomach Stapling vs. Gastric Sleeve
Stomach Stapling (Vertical Banded Gastrectomy)
Vertical banded gastrectomy is one of the oldest forms of surgery for weight loss. It is used to limit the amount of food that can be eaten. It does not alter any part of the digestive process, and none of the stomach is removed. During this procedure, the upper part of the stomach near the esophagus is stapled vertically. This creates a small pouch. The rest of the stomach is then banded, leaving a small opening at the bottom of the small pouch, which opens into the larger portion of the stomach. A mesh or plastic tissue is placed around the small opening to prevent stretching. This process is known as a restrictive surgery because it limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time, which causes patients to feel fuller faster. After surgery, most meals must be limited to approximately one ounce. This surgery does not typically cause malnutrition or dumping syndrome. The entire procedure typically lasts between 3 and 4 hours. Vertical banded gastrectomy surgery is reversible, but the procedure to do so is quite complex.
In general, candidates for this procedure will either have a BMI over 40 or a BMI between 35 and 40 plus weight-related health problems. Women who are 80 pounds over their goal weight and men who are 100 pounds over their goal weight are also good candidates for this surgery.
Average Weight Loss Results
On average, most patients are able to lose approximately 50 to 60 percent of their excess body weight after one year. Weight gain can happen easily if the patient does not adhere to consuming very small portions of food and drinks.
If the surgery is performed laparoscopically, the patient will need to remain in the hospital for 2 or 3 days. If it is performed in an open surgery, then the hospital stay is longer, usually 4 or 5 days. Patients will initially need to follow a liquid diet and gradually move onto thicker liquids and soft foods. After about one month, most patients are able to eat solid foods and return to normal activities.
Common Side Effects
Patients may experience side effects such as reflux, stomal stenosis, incisional hernia, staple-line disruption, intolerance to the band, gastric leak, bleeding, fistulas, pulmonary embolus, and peritonitis. More commonly, side effects such as vomiting can occur if a strict diet is not followed, if food is not chewed properly, or if food is eaten too quickly.
The average cost of this procedure is $20,000 to $25,000. Insurance may cover a portion of the cost.\
Gastric Sleeve (Sleeve Gastrectomy)
A sleeve gastrectomy is typically performed laparoscopically. During this procedure, approximately 80 percent of the stomach is removed. The stomach then becomes more of a tube shape, similar in shape to a banana. The surgeon will make small incisions in the upper abdomen and then insert small instruments through those incisions to complete the procedure. Since the stomach becomes much smaller, the amount of food a person can consume after this procedure is much more limited. This surgery also prompts hormonal changes, which often causes weight loss as well. The hormonal changes can also help with certain weight-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Individuals who have a BMI of 40 or higher are often good candidates for this procedure. This surgery may also be an option for those who have a BMI between 35 and 40 and also have serious weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. Someone with a BMI as low as 30 may be eligible for this surgery if he or she has very serious weight-related health problems.
Average Weight Loss Results
Individuals who have this surgery may lose up to 60 percent of their total body weight, sometimes even more, within two years. The likelihood of success greatly depends on the person’s adherence to lifestyle changes and eating habits.
For the first week after the procedure, the patient is only allowed to consume sugar-free, noncarbonated liquids. The next three weeks will consist of only pureed foods. After that, patients are typically able to resume a normal diet. Over the first few months after surgery, patients will need to have frequent checkups to ensure that everything is going smoothly.
Common Side Effects
Patients often experience body aches, tiredness, feeling cold, dry skin, hair thinning and loss, and mood changes for up to 6 months after the surgery.
The cost of this procedure varies greatly. The total cost in the US can sometimes exceed $20,000. A Lighter Me provides access to quality surgeons in Mexico who perform this surgery at a fraction of this price.