Gastric sleeve surgery is the fastest growing weight loss procedure in the United States; it’s grown significantly in the past few years, primarily due to its effectiveness and low risk of complications. Its popularity in the U.S. has helped bolster its popularity in Mexico as well.
But, in the thirty years since its inception, the approach has been substantially modified in order to increase its effectiveness and make it even safer. Keep reading to find out how exactly the procedure has evolved.
How the Gastric Sleeve Procedure Was Discovered
The idea behind the gastric sleeve operation was based on a 1976 study led by Dr. Lawrence Tretbar. He noticed patients who underwent a Nissen fundoplication, another laparoscopic procedure, lost a significant amount of weight in the months following surgery.
This procedure, which is aimed at relieving gastric reflux, wraps the upper part of the stomach around the base of the esophagus. When stitched in place, this improves the function of the sphincter that keeps acid from backing up, but it also shrinks the stomach.
Dr. Tretbar’s study essentially conceptualized the idea that a smaller stomach shaped like a tube could result in permanent weight loss and soon, the vertical gastric sleeve was born.
Performing the First Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
In the beginning, the gastric sleeve wasn’t its own procedure; it was part of another one.
In 1988, Dr. Doug Hess of Bowling Green, Ohio, put Dr. Tretbar’s concept to the test when he performed the first gastric sleeve as a part of a more complicated weight-loss procedure called the duodenal switch.
Also known as a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD-DS), the procedure causes weight loss in two ways: restrictive and malabsorptive mechanisms.
The restrictive component calls for reducing the size of the stomach and the malabsorptive component involves rerouting the intestines, which causes fewer calories to be absorbed.
Reducing the size of the stomach does not have significant long-term health effects, but bypassing the intestines can cause nutritional deficiencies and permanent changes in bowel function.
The Initial Success of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
From 1988 to 1997, the open gastric sleeve continued to be performed as part of the duodenal switch, and the results continued to be positive.
But in 1997, Dr. Greg Anthone was forced to abandon the intestinal bypass part of the procedure on one patient due to complications, although post-surgical weight loss still occurred.
Other surgeons were skeptical of the procedure’s success; they believed a restrictive-only operation would not result in long-term weight loss, especially for the most obese patients.
But around that same time, it was discovered that creating a vertical pouch out of the stomach instead of the traditional horizontal shape had an unexpected benefit: it reduced a hunger-causing hormone called ghrelin that’s produced by the stomach.
Between 1997 and 2001, Dr. Anthone performed more than 20 similar procedures with positive results. By 2005, he had documented success for more than 100 patients.
Adjustments Made to the Original Vertical Sleeve Procedure
Despite the fact the surgery was proving to be effective, there were some tweaks made to it to help reduce certain risks and complications.
The first change came in 1999 when three other doctors developed a safer, laparoscopic procedure for gastric sleeve surgery. However, there remained some complications with the intestinal bypass part of the duodenal switch procedure.
This led to the creation of a two-stage procedure, which involved creating the sleeve first, allowing larger patients to lose some weight before performing the gastric bypass.
This worked as well, and eventually, the entire surgery could be performed laparoscopically.
It also caused surgeons to believe that decreasing the stomach size alone could achieve permanent results without risking the negative, long-term health effects of the intestinal bypass.
This led to the decision to decrease the size of the stomach from the prior standard of 100 milliliters to less than 50 milliliters in size and officially distinguished the gastric sleeve vs gastric bypass as two of the best weight loss surgery options.
The Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
For many years, the cost of gastric sleeve surgery in the U.S. has made it difficult for the average person to pay for it. Initially, you could pay as much as $50,000. But as it’s improved and hospital stays have gotten shorter, the cost has decreased to between $10,000 and $20,000.
There are a variety of factors that affect the price of gastric sleeve surgery in the U.S. Prices are based on location, doctors, patients’ health going into surgery, as well as insurance coverage.
A more cost-effective option is to have your gastric sleeve surgery done in Tijuana, Mexico with Mexico Sleeve Gastrectomy. We offer gastric sleeve packages starting at only $4,595. We also offer packages for gastric bypass operations and mini-gastric bypass procedures in Mexico.
If you are interested in learning more about the weight loss surgery packages we offer, or if you have general questions about any of the procedures, please contact us.