Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) - Frequently Asked Questions

Published: 09th April 2009
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Given the increased incidents of morbid obesity in the United States, the popularity of surgical procedures to deal with weight loss has skyrocketed. One of these weight loss surgeries is the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or VSG. Below are some common questions that people have concerning this particular weight loss surgery.

What is a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG)?

A vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a weight loss surgery that limits the amount of food the stomach can hold. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy can also be referred to as a sleeve gastrectomy, vertical gastrectomy, greater curvature gastrectomy, or gastric reduction.

How does a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) work?

During the vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach by 85%. Given the drastic reduction of stomach capacity and the manner in which the surgery is performed, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible.

Since a vertical sleeve gastrectomy limits the stomach's capacity, it is classified as a restrictive weight loss surgery procedure. This differs from the two other kinds of weight loss surgery: malabsorptive procedures (reduces the amount of calories the body absorbs by altering the digestion process) and combination procedures (a combination of restrictive and malabsorptive techniques).

Who is a good candidate for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG)?

Good candidate for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy are those who are extremely obese, such as people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater. There are a number of BMI calculators online that you can use to determine your BMI, but it is best to consult with your physician before considering any sort of major surgery such as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

What are the risks and benefits of vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG)?

One of the risks of vertical sleeve gastrectomy is that patients often have difficulty with digesting foods that are high in fiber or with a more dense consistency. Some patients may eat junk foods rather than healthier foods once the surgery is complete, which may slow down weight loss. Beyond the usual risks of infection that follow any surgery, the biggest disadvantage of the surgery is that is irreversible. Since all but 15% of the stomach is removed, there is no way to go back.

One of the major benefits of vertical sleeve gastrectomy is that those who undergo the procedure do not experience the nutritional deficiencies that are usually associated with malabsorptive weight loss surgeries. Another benefit is that vertical sleeve gastrectomy does not cause dumping syndrome, a condition in which the lower sections of the small intestine fill with undigested food from the stomach, causing dizziness, nausea, fatigue, cramps, bloating, and diarrhea.

Considering sleeve gastrectomy or LAP BAND surgery? Find out more about the procedure by contacting an obesity surgery center in Dallas. An experienced weight loss surgeon can help you determine which restrictive weight loss procedure is right for you.

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