Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fat Faqs: What IS Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, anyway?

I asked myself the same question when I first heard it mentioned.

So I did what any reasonable person would do, and I started researching it.  I found a number of web-based support groups, and a shit ton of blogs, YouTube videos, and sites created by and for VSG patients.   I was astounded at how much information is out there, and the more I learned about it the more comfortable I became with having it done.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is, in a nutshell, a procedure wherein approximately 80% of a patient's stomach is removed, leaving a tube - or "sleeve" - shaped stomach.  The capacity of the stomach is significantly reduced, and the section that is removed contains the hormone that regulates appetite, so hunger is suppressed as well.  It was originally performed as a preceding step to gastric bypass in extremely obese patients who were not physically sound enough to undergo the quite drastic bypass procedure.  However, patients started reporting great success with just the one surgery, so it became a mainstream bariatric procedure.

By virtue of reading this blog, you're already familiar with the internet and are perfectly capable of gathering your own information.  However, to make it slightly easier on you, here are a couple of helpful links to satisfy your curiosity:

Here's the Wikipedia entry, which explains it pretty well

This is from the "A Lighter Me" website, and also explains the procedure in detail.

This video explains the procedure

This video shows an actual surgery being performed (warning: this is quite graphic)

I kind of hate that they call it "The Sleeve," because it's misleading.  To me, it sounds like they put some kind of thing around your stomach, like a sleeve on a cup at Starbucks.  To others, they hear "sleeve" and think I'm talking about tattoos.  Or shirts.  "Sleeve" in this context really only refers to the new shape of the stomach.

So yeah.  That's what I'm having done. :-)

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