Taking a surgical step toward weight loss isn't one that you make overnight. Rather, the decision likely comes after years of trying, unsuccessfully, to lose the weight you need to take charge of your health.
Now that you’ve made this important decision, it’s time to figure out which surgical approach is best for your goals and circumstances.
To help, our team of bariatric specialists here at Weight Loss Institute of Arizona wants to highlight one of the more popular procedures here — the sleeve gastrectomy.
Here's a look at how this procedure works to help you rapidly lose weight, and learn whether you’re a good candidate.
Before we get into what we accomplish during this type of bariatric surgery, it’s important to note that we refer to it in several ways, including sleeve gastrectomy, gastric sleeve, and vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
By whatever name, this procedure begins as we make small incisions in your abdomen and then use a specialized camera and tools to remove a portion of your stomach. This advanced surgical technique is called laparoscopy, and it can greatly reduce your risks and downtime.
In most cases, we remove about 80-85% of your stomach, leaving you with a small tube (or sleeve) that becomes your new stomach.
While reducing the size of your stomach can greatly help with how much food you’re able to eat, we also remove the portion of your stomach that releases hunger hormones, which helps control your appetite after your surgery.
Another advantage of sleeve gastrectomy is that it doesn't alter your intestines in any way, which allows your body to continue to absorb crucial vitamins and nutrients.
To give you an idea about your candidacy for a gastric sleeve, we want to point to the fact that this type of bariatric surgery is far and away the most common. In 2011, the gastric sleeve accounted for nearly 18% of all bariatric surgeries in the United States. In 2019, the percentage increased to more than 61%, a testament to its efficacy and success rate.
Another way to look at these numbers is that most people who qualify for bariatric surgery, also make good candidates for a sleeve gastrectomy.
But let’s back up a little and review what we mean by qualifying for bariatric surgery.
In general terms, anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher makes a good candidate for weight loss surgery. But this number is just a jumping-off point. Outside of BMI, we also consider anyone who’s carrying 100 pounds or more of unhealthy weight to be a candidate.
And if you have a preexisting condition that’s putting your health at risk and weight loss is the most effective way to regain your health, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery with a BMI of 30-35.
Perhaps you’ve tried for years to lose weight and you’ve been unsuccessful. While your BMI might not meet the criteria, we can sit down with you to review your circumstances and your health to determine whether you might be a good candidate for a gastric sleeve.
In other words, we consider candidacy for bariatric surgery and, more specifically, sleeve gastrectomies, on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever your circumstances, your first step is to come see us so we can thoroughly evaluate your health and your lifestyle to determine whether you may benefit from a sleeve gastrectomy. To get started, contact one of our locations Tempe, Glendale, Mesa, Tucson, and Phoenix, Arizona.