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Sleeve gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy

There are many types of weight loss surgery available for those who are dangerously overweight and one of the most controversial and perhaps riskiest is the sleeve gastrectomy.
This procedure is a vertical sleeve gastrectomy with an added duodenal switch and is sometimes just known as a duodenal switch or a Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Due to the controversy surrounding this surgery for weight loss there are countless bariatric surgeons who will simply not perform this procedure due to the increased risk of long term ill effects.

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is the most invasive form of weight loss surgery and involves the stomach being split vertically into two unequal parts. The larger part is almost 85 percent of the entire stomach and it is removed completely. This leaves the patient with only 15 percent of their original stomach size and this is the part that is still connected to the small intestines. This smaller stomach will function in the same way as a larger normal stomach but will only allow for a decreased amount of food consumption. This type of surgery is extremely severe as it is final and cannot be reversed – the part of the stomach that has been removed, cannot be put back!

After the large part of the stomach has been removed, a duodenal switch is created. This part of the surgery can be reversed if required. A duodenal switch will prevent the body from absorbing too much fat and calories from the food that the patient eats. So the patient will be restricted from eating more than necessary by the dramatically reduced stomach size and the duodenal switch will prevent too many calories from the food that is actually eaten from being absorbed by the body as it makes its way through the body’s digestive system.

A duodenal switch is created by splitting the small intestine and taking a small part to bypass the majority of the intestines. This small section of intestine is taken from the duodenum to the end of the intestines which means that the food will no longer have to pass through the entire intestinal tract and will be mixed with digestive juices only at the very final stage of digestion. The result of this bypass is that the body will have a limited time to actually try and digest the food and then try and absorb the calories.

While this procedure ensures weight loss for the patient, it can be very controversial due to the amount of digestive tract that is actually bypassed. The fact that the duodenal switch bypasses most of the intestines, means that very little minerals and vitamins will be absorbed by the body either, which could lead to conditions such as anaemia and bone disease. There are also greater risks of complications with a sleeve gastrectomy because of the invasive and complex nature of taking more than half of the stomach away permanently. There is however, little doubt that this type of weight loss surgery can provide very effective results.

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