Not all bariatric surgery procedures are created equally. Most patients who seek weight loss surgery can expect to shed pounds and improve their health, but some surgeries are better than others. The sleeve gastrectomy is currently the most popular bariatric procedure among patients, including those who seek the surgery in order to treat type 2 diabetes.
Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeve surgery, has not always been the most popular weight loss surgery. Up until 2012, the original Roux-en-Y procedure that was developed in the 1960s was most common in the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that sleeve gastrectomy took over the top spot in 2013. According to the Journal, only six percent of weight loss procedures in 2008 were sleeve gastrectomies, and the number jumped to over 67 percent of surgeries by 2013.
For Dr. Dirk, these findings make a lot of sense. Sleeve gastrectomy “is a fantastic alternative to the failed lap band surgery,” he says. According to Bariatric Surgery Source, over 50 percent of lap band procedures will fail, and the surgery is prone to complications. In some instances, the band that shrinks the stomach can grow into the stomach or erode, and can cause difficulty swallowing. Sleeve gastrectomy is not without its potential risks, but it provides a safer alternative for patients who are wary of lap band complications.
When correctly used, sleeve gastrectomy is a “tool for life-long good health,” says Dr. Dirk. A single-center study conducted in 2013 found that patients who underwent this procedure lost over 57 percent of their excess weight, and that associated conditions like diabetes were treated by the surgery. Choosing to have this procedure will change your life, but it will also likely lead to long-term success not only in weight loss, but in your overall health.
Of course, Dr. Dirk couldn’t let one glaring misconception slide. According to the data presented in the study, there are no studies that show the long-term effectiveness of gastric sleeve procedures, something that Dr. Dirk strongly disagrees with. “There is plenty of excellent information about the sleeve procedure that shows that it is safe and can help patients live a long, healthy life.” Maybe we can chalk this error up to scientists being a little too cautious.
If you think that a sleeve gastrectomy might be a good fit for you, Dr. Dirk is happy to answer any questions you have about the long-term safety of the surgery. Instead of trying to understand a bunch of boring scientific journals, let Dr. Dirk and his 30+ years of experience lay out the actual benefits and risks of the procedure.