Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG)

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What is Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is a type of weight-loss surgery that reduces the size of your stomach by about 80%. This limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you lose excess weight. VSG is also known as gastric sleeve, or tube gastrectomy.

How is VSG Performed?

VSG is usually performed laparoscopically, which means that the surgeon makes small incisions in your abdomen and inserts special instruments to remove most of your stomach. The remaining part of your stomach is shaped like a banana or a sleeve. The surgery takes about 60 to 90 minutes. You may need to stay in the hospital for one or two days.

What are the Benefits of VSG?

VSG can help you lose up to 60% of your excess body weight within one to two years. It can also improve or resolve many weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea, and infertility. VSG may also reduce your hunger and appetite by lowering the levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger.

What are the Risks of VSG?

As with any surgery, VSG has some potential risks and complications, both in the short term and long term. Some of the possible risks include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Leaks from the cut edge of the stomach
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Hernias
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Malnutrition
  • Vomiting
  • Ulcers

What are the Requirements for VSG?

VSG is not for everyone. You need to meet certain criteria to qualify for this surgery, such as:

  • Having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or 35 to 39.9 with a serious weight-related health problem
  • Having tried to lose weight by improving your diet and exercise habits without success
  • Being willing to make permanent lifestyle changes to maintain your weight loss
  • Being committed to follow-up visits with your bariatric surgery team and other health care providers
  • Having no medical conditions that would make the surgery unsafe or ineffective for you.

How to Prepare for VSG?

Before you have VSG, you need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by your bariatric surgery team, which may include a physical exam, blood tests, imaging tests, psychological assessment, nutritional counseling, and education. You may also need to:

  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol at least six weeks before the surgery
  • Follow a low-calorie, high-protein diet for two to four weeks before the surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements that may increase bleeding

What to Expect After VSG?

After VSG, you need to follow a specific diet and exercise plan to ensure your recovery and weight loss. You will start with a clear liquid diet for the first 24 hours, then progress to a full liquid diet, a soft food diet, and your regular diet in the following weeks. You will also need to:

  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements as prescribed by your doctor
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid carbonated drinks, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Eat small, frequent meals and chew your food well
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, or calories
  • Stop eating when you feel full and avoid overeating
  • Exercise regularly and gradually increase your physical activity

How is VSG Different from Gastric Bypass?

VSG and gastric bypass are two common types of weight-loss surgery, but they have some differences. Gastric bypass involves creating a small pouch from the upper part of your stomach and connecting it to the lower part of your small intestine, bypassing most of your stomach and some of your small intestine. This reduces the amount of food you can eat and the amount of calories and nutrients you can absorb. VSG only reduces the size of your stomach and does not affect your intestines. Compared to gastric bypass, VSG may have:

  • Less risk of malabsorption, dumping syndrome, and vitamin deficiencies
  • Less weight loss on average
  • More risk of stricture and gastroesophageal reflux.

How Much Weight Can You Lose with Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy?

The amount of weight loss that occurs with vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) can vary from person to person and depends on various factors, including individual characteristics, adherence to post-surgery guidelines, and lifestyle changes. However, on average, people who undergo vertical sleeve gastrectomy can expect to lose a significant amount of excess body weight.

Typically, individuals can achieve about 60-70% excess weight loss within the first year after surgery. Some may experience more or less weight loss, and the rate of weight loss tends to slow down over time.

VSG is not only a tool for weight loss but also a means of addressing obesity-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. The improvement or resolution of these conditions is another positive outcome associated with bariatric surgery.

It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a bariatric surgeon, to get personalized information and guidance based on your specific health situation and goals. Additionally, successful and sustainable weight loss often involves making long-term lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity, which are important components of post-surgery care.

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