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Why Is the Gastric Sleeve the Most Popular Bariatric Procedure?

The gastric sleeve also known as the sleeve gastrectomy is currently the most popular bariatric procedure in the United States. However, it was once just a (very successful) 1st part procedure to a larger duodenal switch. In fact, it was the unexpectedly excellent outcomes of the sleeve that vaulted it into the ranks of major surgical procedures and covered by most insurances including Medicare.

Medical Illustration of the most popular weight loss surgery option the gastric sleeve with Dr. Guillermo Higa in Tucson

But Why Is the Gastric Sleeve So Popular?

The popularity of the sleeve lies in its simplicity which offers both the surgeon and patient several benefits. First, the surgeon simply cuts away approximately 80% of the existing stomach pouch along the greater curvature, leaving what approximates a banana or a sleeve, hence the name. The cut away portion of the stomach is removed entirely from the abdomen, but importantly, with it also the fundus of the stomach. This is a primary production center for the hunger hormone Ghrelin. By removing this portion of the stomach, not only do we restrict the amount of food that can be eaten in one sitting, but most patients experience a reduction in hunger as well, meaning that they self-limit their calorie consumption.

On the other hand, patients love the gastric sleeve because, compared to a gastric bypass, there are relatively few restrictions and considerations. For one, since there is no rerouting of the small intestine, there is a significantly lower chance of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Also, patients can eat a much more normal albeit restricted diet after surgery without worrying about dumping syndrome.

Is the Sleeve Right for Everyone?

Of course, the gastric sleeve isn’t for everybody. As we discussed in our previous blog, patients with uncontrolled or poorly controlled type two diabetes and those with significant gastroesophageal reflux disease or Gerd may be better suited to a gastric bypass which can address both conditions effectively.

Of course, to make the decision on which surgery is best, we invite you to watch Dr. Higa‘s online seminar and to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about the procedure. The decision to have bariatric surgery is a difficult one and intensely personal. Therefore, if you’ve taken that first step, congratulations, this is a serious and significant move in the right direction for your health and your life in general. Now, you must choose the procedure that’s right for you and dedicate yourself to a lifetime of managing your diet and exercise, keeping the weight off and staying healthy.