Sleeve gastrectomy is a type of bariatric surgery that drastically reduces the size of the stomach. Also known as a vertical gastrectomy, a partial gastrectomy, gastric reduction, as well as a greater curvature gastrectomy, this type of procedure is offered as an alternative to gastric bypass surgeries and encourages weight-loss in obese patients by removing up to 85% of the stomach. This is a permanent procedure that cannot be reversed, but one that is providing a growing number of obese patients from around the world with life-saving benefits.
Sleeve gastrectomy procedures are effective and safe for patients with high-risk and high BMI (body mass index) ranges. In many cases, this surgical procedure allows patients to lose 100 pounds or more, which helps to improve health and reduce medical issues that result from obesity, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, as well as lack of mobility and quality of life.
Sleeve gastrectomy procedures enable the stomach to function properly and normally, although it reduces its capacity to hold food. The portion of the stomach that is removed also contains hungers stimulating hormones known as Ghrelin, which helps to reduce food cravings. In many cases, patients experiencing medical conditions as a result of obesity such as diabetes or high cholesterol experience a decrease of symptoms as a result of this type of surgical procedure.
Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure
Sleeve gastrectomy is a form of bariatric surgery that creates a small, sleeve shaped stomach that is relative in size to an average banana. Considered an alternative to traditional Roux-en-Y bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy is considered a treatment option for those with a BMI of 60 or higher and is typically performed as the first part of a two-part procedural treatment that may lead to gastric bypass depending upon results.
One of the greatest benefits of this type of procedure is that no intestinal bypass is performed, which avoids long-term complications such as vitamin deficiencies, ulcers or intestinal obstructions in patients who undergo more traditional forms of lap banding, stomach stapling or gastric bypass procedures.
Removing nearly 85% of the stomach along a vertical line following the major curve of the stomach, opened edges are reattached to form what may literally form a "sleeve" in the shape of a banana. The procedure may be performed laparoscopically, which helps to reduce surrounding muscle and tissue damage and reduces hospital stays.
Costs of a Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure
Because the sleeve gastrectomy procedure is still relatively new, most health insurance companies in the United States don't cover this procedure. Costs for this procedure ranged around $20,000 in the United States, though significant savings may be made elsewhere. For example, the same procedure performed in Germany may cost 65% less than it does in the United States, while costs in India for the same procedure are roughly $7,500. In Costa Rica, costs may range around $9,100, while in Mexico costs range from $9,500-$13,500. Recent studies have shown that nearly 50% of the patients who engage in sleeve gastrectomy procedures in Mexico come from the United States.
Choosing a Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgeon
It is important that medical travelers and consumers carefully choose a bariatric surgeon who has generated enough experience and expertise to be well versed in all bariatric surgical procedures. In addition, it is important that your bariatric surgeon be a member of a domestic or international Society of Bariatric Physicians, and that he or she performs the procedure in a JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited quality hospital or facility.
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