A gastric sleeve (also known as sleeve gastrectomy, or simply 'the sleeve') decreases the size of the stomach, limiting the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. During this procedure, a thin, long tube of stomach is created using a stapling device, and the rest of the stomach is removed. The sleeve is shaped like a banana. This procedure markedly limits (restricts) the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. It allows for normal digestion and absorption. Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the usual manner, allowing it to be normally absorbed in the body.
The majority of gastric sleeve surgeries performed today are performed using a laparoscopic technique, (minimally invasive). Laparoscopic surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures. The average hospital stay is 2 to 5 days. Patients usually return to normal activities in 2 weeks and are fully recovered in 3 weeks.
Laparoscopic gastric sleeve can be used as a first step before a gastric bypass or it can be a single procedure for weight loss. If a gastric sleeve is used as part of a two-step procedure, the first step is for the surgeon to create the small stomach “sleeve.” After a period of time determined by the surgeon, another procedure would be done in which the surgeon attaches a section of the small intestine directly to the stomach pouch. This allows food to bypass a portion of the stomach and small intestine. Doing so enables your body to absorb fewer calories, in addition to consuming less food. This two-step procedure may be done because patients may not be able to tolerate both procedures during a single operation.