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Sleeve Gastrectomy – Bariatric Surgery

Sleeve Gastrectomy – Bariatric Surgery

The sleeve gastrectomy (also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy) is a type of weight-loss surgery that involves separating part of the stomach and removing it. Although about 75% of the stomach is cut out, gastrointestinal function is preserved and there are few restrictions on what the patient can eat. This procedure facilitates weight loss because the stomach is now much smaller and cannot hold as much food. Additionally, the stomach produces less of the body’s appetite regulating hormones, diminishing the desire to eat.

At The Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Unit at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, we have a highly trained and experienced team of specialists. Gastrointestinal surgeons, dietitians, and other physicians collaborate to custom-design each patient’s treatment and provide supportive guidance throughout all stages of the sleeve gastrectomy procedure.

Bariatric Surgery page

How does the sleeve gastrectomy work?

Unlike other bariatric surgeries, the sleeve gastrectomy does not implant any foreign body into your abdomen or rearrange the intestines. Typically, this surgical procedure will be performed laparoscopically and under general anesthesia. It takes about one to two hours, and the procedure is irreversible.

Your surgeon will begin by making a few small incisions in your abdomen in order to insert a laparoscope, which is a narrow instrument with a tiny camera that sends images to a monitor. Using these images as a guide, the surgeon will use other surgical instruments to remove a large portion of your stomach. Your remaining stomach will then be shaped into a tube-like structure (about the size of a banana).

On the first day after your surgery, you will only be able to consume clear liquids. Once you leave the hospital, usually two to four days later, you will be able to eat a diet of soft pureed foods and liquids, such as protein shakes. Most of the time, regular food can be eaten after six weeks (in much smaller quantities than before), and you will need to take nutritional supplements for the rest of your life. After a complete recovery, most patients find that they can comfortably eat a wide variety of foods, including fibrous vegetables and meat.

Along with reducing the size of your stomach so you cannot eat as much, the smaller stomach created by the sleeve gastrectomy also produces less ghrelin, a hormone that helps to regulate your appetite. This may work as an appetite suppressant that boosts the success of your weight loss. In general, people lose about 60% of their extra weight within 12-18 months, especially when eating right and exercising, too.

What conditions can be treated with the sleeve gastrectomy?

The sleeve gastrectomy is intended as a treatment for severe obesity, particularly for people who have not been successful with long-term weight loss using other methods.

What are the possible side effects?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a major surgery, and every major surgery poses some potential health risks. The general complication rate of the sleeve gastrectomy is about 10% – 12%, and the rate of serious complications is less than 3%. Some side effects associated with the procedure are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to other organs
  • Leaking from the staple line used to divide the stomach (rare)
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Kidney stones
  • Gallstones
  • Gastrointestinal reflux
  • Gastrointestinal obstructions

Immediately after the surgery, you may experience constipation, nausea, or vomiting, but these symptoms are typically short-lived. Also, you may find that certain foods no longer agree with you.

Who is a candidate for this surgery?

Not all overweight people are good candidates for this surgery, and there are some criteria that must be met before Sheba’s doctors approve a patient for the sleeve gastrectomy.

We generally perform this procedure for people who have been diagnosed with morbid obesity with a BMI (body mass index) over 40, or people who have a BMI over 35 and an obesity-related health condition. In addition, patients must be 18 years of age and older, have a history of failed weight loss attempts, and be committed to making significant diet and lifestyle changes.

Anyone who has a health complication that compromises their ability to handle the stress of the surgery is not a good candidate for the sleeve gastrectomy.

Why choose Sheba for bariatric surgery in Israel?

Our Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies in specialized operating rooms that are dedicated to bariatric procedures. Our team comprises five world-class bariatric surgeons, granting you the benefits of their combined experience of having performed thousands of surgeries.

Sheba’s team will prepare you for the surgery and provide support during and after the procedure. The sleeve gastrectomy procedure does not stand alone as the means to achieving your weight loss goals. To assist you on your journey towards better health, we provide a comprehensive variety of holistic services. For example, nutritionists will teach you proper eating habits, psychologists can help with making behavioral pattern changes, and endocrinologists will assist with personalized therapies for diabetes and other endocrine issues.

Also, a personal medical coordinator from the International Medical Tourism Division will accompany you throughout every step of your treatment, ensuring that your experience at Sheba is comfortable and efficient.

Meet Our Team

David Goitein

David Goitein, MD

Director, Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Unit
Prof. Goitein is a leading specialist who has performed hundreds of advanced laparoscopic surgeries. He is an active participant in many professional scientific societies worldwide, and he has published dozens of articles in notable medical journals. Prof Goitein received his medical degree from the Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
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David Hazzan

David Hazzan, MD

Director of the Invasive Microbial and Robotic Surgery Unit
Dr. Hazzan specializes in general surgery, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and obesity treatment. He founded the Invasive Microbial Surgery Unit at Carmel Hospital in Haifa, and then managed it for four years. Dr. Hazzan is a leading surgeon in Israel performing abdominal wall hernia surgery with the help of the da Vinci robot. He has performed hundreds of gastrointestinal surgeries using a minimally invasive approach. Dr. Hazzan received his medical degree from the Jose Maria Vargas School of Medicine, Central University of Venezuela.
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