Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is surgery to help with weight loss. The surgeon removes a large portion of your stomach.

The new, smaller stomach is about the size of a banana. It limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food.

You will receive general anesthesia before this surgery. This will make you sleep and keep you pain-free.

The surgery is usually done using a tiny camera that is placed in your belly. This type of surgery is called laparoscopy. The camera is called a laparoscope. It allows your surgeon to see inside your belly.

In this surgery:

Your surgeon will make 2 to 5 small cuts in your abdomen.
The surgeon will pass the laparoscope and the instruments needed to perform the surgery through these openings.
The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. Your surgeon will look at the monitor to see inside your belly.
Your surgeon will insert thin surgical instruments through the other openings.
Your surgeon will remove most of your stomach.

The remaining portions of your stomach are joined together using surgical staples. This creates a long vertical tube or banana-shaped stomach.
The surgery does not involve cutting or changing the sphincter muscles that allow food to enter or leave the stomach
The surgery may take only 60 to 90 minutes if your surgeon has done many of these procedures.
When you eat after having this surgery, the small pouch will fill quickly. You will feel full after eating a very small amount of food.

Weight-loss surgery may increase your risk of gallstones. Your doctor may recommend having a cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder) before your surgery or at the same time.

Why the Procedure is Performed
Weight-loss surgery may be an option if you are very obese and have not been able to lose weight through diet and exercise.

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is not a quick fix for obesity. It will greatly change your lifestyle. You must eat healthy foods, control portion sizes of what you eat, and exercise after this surgery. If you do not follow these measures, you may have complications from the surgery and poor weight loss.

This procedure may be recommended if you have:

A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. Someone with a BMI of 40 or more is at least 100 pounds over their recommended weight. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25.
A BMI of 35 or more and a serious medical condition that might improve with weight loss. Some of these conditions are sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy has most often been done on patients who are too heavy to safely have other types of weight-loss surgery. Some patients may eventually need a second weight-loss surgery.

This procedure cannot be reversed once it has been done.

Risks for any anesthesia are:

Allergic reactions to medicines
Breathing problems
Risks for any surgery are:

Blood clots in the legs that may travel to your lungs
Blood loss
Heart attack or stroke during surgery
Infection, including in the surgical cut, lungs (pneumonia), or bladder or kidney
Risks for vertical sleeve gastrectomy are:

Gastritis (inflamed stomach lining), heartburn, or stomach ulcers
Injury to your stomach, intestines, or other organs during surgery
Leaking from the line where parts of the stomach have been stapled together
Poor nutrition, although much less than with gastric bypass surgery
Scarring inside your belly that could lead to a blockage in your bowel in the future
Vomiting from eating more than your stomach pouch can hold
Before the Procedure
Your surgeon will ask you to have tests and visits with your other health care providers before you have this surgery. Some of these are:

A complete physical exam
Blood tests, ultrasound of your gallbladder, and other tests to make sure you are healthy enough to have surgery
Visits with your doctor to make sure other medical problems you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart or lung problems, are under control
Nutritional counseling
Classes to help you learn what happens during the surgery, what you should expect afterward, and what risks or problems may occur afterward
You may want to visit with a counselor to make sure you are emotionally ready for this surgery. You must be able to make major changes in your lifestyle after surgery.
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking several weeks before surgery and not start smoking again after surgery. Smoking slows recovery and increases the risk of problems. Ask your doctor or nurse for help quitting.

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

If you are or might be pregnant
What drugs, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements you are taking, even ones you bought without a prescription
During the week before your surgery:

You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), vitamin E, warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot.
Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
On the day of your surgery:

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
After the Procedure
You can probably go home 2 days after your surgery. You should be able to drink clear liquids on the day after surgery, and then a puréed diet by the time you go home.

When you go home, you will probably be given pain pills or liquids and a medication called proton pump inhibitors.

Your doctor, nurse, or dietitian will recommend a diet for you. Meals should be small to avoid stretching the remaining stomach.

Outlook (Prognosis)
The final weight loss may not be as large as with gastric bypass. And this may be enough for many patients. Talk with your doctor about which procedure is best for you.

The weight will usually come off more slowly than with gastric bypass. You should keep losing weight for up to 2 to 3 years.

Losing enough weight after surgery can improve many medical conditions you might also have. Conditions that may improve are asthma, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and gastroesophageal disease (GERD).

Weighing less should also make it much easier for you to move around and do your everyday activities.

This surgery alone is not a solution to losing weight. It can train you to eat less, but you still have to do much of the work. To lose weight and avoid complications from the procedure, you will need to follow the exercise and eating guidelines that your doctor and dietitian gave you.

Alternative Names
Gastrectomy – sleeve; Gastrectomy – greater curvature; Gastrectomy – parietal; Gastric reduction; Vertical gastroplasty

Moy J, Pomp A, Dakin G, et al. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy for morbid obesity. Am J Surg. 2008 Nov;196(5):e56-9.

Richards WO. Morbid obesity. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 15.

Woodward G, Morton J. Bariatric surgery. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ. Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 7.

Update Date: 1/29/2013

19 Responses to 'WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY – VSG'

  1. Poldrawolf says:

    Thank you for being open about your journey. I was sleeved in Nov/13 and my health is improving dramatically. Nothing worked before and this tool has been a great help. We need more positive attention on bariatric procedures. Maybe one day those who criticize us for being over weight & then criticize us for getting surgery will see the light and just be supportive and accept our decisions, whatever they may be.

  2. Laurie Y says:

    GOOD FOR YOU!! I had a RNY gastric bypass in Sept 2013, after struggling for the past 25 years to keep off the same weight I would lose time and time again. I have since lost 120 pounds, I make better choices and I am glad I have gotten rid of all those health issues that were starting to steal my joy. I am so glad you will be able to live a healthier life! Way to go!

  3. julie says:

    Congratulations, Rosie…you’ve taken your own health into your own hands and, therefore, you are an inspiration to many. Thank you for your honesty…may you have many, many more years of good health!!

  4. Congrats Rosie and best wishes on your new healthier life! I had RNY in 2006, the 158# weight loss resolved my GERD, Sleep Apnea, High BP I am off all 8 medications, I have not been to the Dr for more than routine check-ups in 7 1/2 years. Best decision I ever made. Having surgery was just one battle in a lifetime war vs obesity, every day I fight with healthy eating choices, moving my body and working on the head stuff addressing the why’s of why I gained weight. Best to you fellow fighter!

  5. MMBBGC says:

    Thank you for being OPEN about your journey. I am a ten-year bariatric surgery patient maintaining a loss of -170 lbs and it’s been a hell of a ride and I applaud you for sharing.

  6. Annette O'Banion says:

    So proud of you Rosie! I had the gastric bypass on Dec 11th and have lost 45 pounds so far. Yes, there are adjustments, but the benefits far outstrip any problems. The amazing thing is that I have lost “hunger” pangs and am satisfied with the smallest amount of food. I’m still working my way through and there are trial-and-errors galore. But already I feel so much lighter in spirit. I have admired you for MANY years, and even more so now. XXOO

  7. SO HAPPY!!! I had gastric bypass 13 years ago and lost and maintained a 130 lb. loss. I talked to you on your radio show a few times about it. I’m so happy for you! I volunteer full time to help others figure out where the speed bumps are. You looked so great on The View the other day. This surgery saved my life. I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been!

  8. Susan Gibbons-Flood says:

    Congratulations Rosie! I had the same surgery on 7/22/13, best thing I ever did. My husband did it 8/13. We are doing great I have lost 80, he 150! He had serious health problems and this has SAVED his life too. I’m proud of all of us, it’s a difficult decision to make, but I haven’t regretted it once! I did regret the “shakes” oh lord I’m glad I’m done with them 🙂 – Good Luck!

  9. Marian says:

    You are an inspiration to many!

  10. Mike says:

    Best thing I ever did!! Started 2 months before with a nutritionist and then did the surgery. Now almost a year out I’m down over 100lbs and in the best Heath I’ve ever been!!

    It’s a process and not a quick fix and I agree, you have to be in the right mind set to do this. It’s a life change that will change your life!!!

  11. pat says:

    wow! I am so happy for you! wish I had the courage! been to several seminars … would you be willing to share your surgeon?

  12. andrea says:

    Good luck Rosie. I had RNY 2/2/09. Lost 174lbs. Kept all but 9lbs off. It’s a journey, a lifestyle. Best decision I evermade!

  13. Kathy Walduck says:

    Congrats on your decision. I am having RNY this summer.
    Looking forward to getting off my diabetes meds.

  14. Rachael says:

    Good luck, Rosie. my friend had it done just before Thanksgiving and has lost almost 40 pounds so far. I want to do it too, but my insurance doesn’t cover it. I’m saving up.

  15. Good luck and God Bless Rosie. My wife and I both had RNY full on Gastruc Bypass about 10 years ago. No regrets. I had lost 120 lbs. put about 30 back on, which my surgeon says is typical. Left hospital after 1 night… No more C-Pap, blood pressure or diabetic medicine. 10+ years later, staying the course. Love ya. Good luck on your journey.

  16. Aileen says:

    Congrats Rosie on this commitment. My sleep apnea is GONE since losing 100 pounds! You can do this too! XO

  17. Darlette Camara says:

    Had the same surgery 1year ago saved my life! Hardest part clear liq diet ! Hugs

  18. Megan Alvarez says:

    Good luck Rosie. I love you!! Thanks for letting us know what you’re doing.

  19. sandy says:

    Good luck with your journey. I had RNY Almost five years ago and have kept off 110 pounds. It’s a great tool for creating a new life. Proud of you. Welcome to the club!