Gastric Sleeve Surgery
How the Gastric Sleeve Works
The Gastric Sleeve is simple in design. Essentially, it is a true “stomach shrinking” operation.
With the Gastric Sleeve operation, approximately 40% to 60% of the stomach is removed. However, due to the geometry involved, the volume of food that the stomach is able to hold is decreased by approximately 70-80%.
The upper 2/3 of the stomach is re-formed to be very narrow, with an inside diameter of between 11 to 15 mm (1/2 inch, or so). This results in a narrow stomach tube, or “sleeve” configuration. The upper part of the stomach must be narrow, and the lower part of the stomach cannot be kinked or narrowed excessively. The lowest part of the stomach, the pylorus, is a muscular area that regulates the flow of food out of the stomach and into the intestine. The pylorus, and approximately two inches of stomach before the pylorus, is left completely in place.
In order for food to pass comfortably through the stomach it must be chewed well. If you don’t chew, the food will “back up” and feel uncomfortable; it may even feel as if you’re choking and need to vomit. This is no different than when a person with a normal-sized stomach swallows an unchewed piece of food and it feels like it “gets stuck in their throat.” Since it only takes a small amount of food to fill the new stomach, or sleeve, a person will feel like he has eaten more food. This feeling of early fullness is very useful in modifying diet and losing weight.