Losing Weight Over 40 - Years and Pounds 

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a type of new weight loss surgery, and the results have been pretty exciting so far.

This type of weight loss surgery involves removing a large part of the stomach, in a vertical direction. Instead of the stomach being a fist-like pouch, it ends up shaped like a banana.

This type of surgery produces its weight loss by restricting the volume of food that can be eaten. 85% (or more) of the stomach is removed, so this surgery is considered permanent.

No bypassing of the intestines is performed on a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, unlike gastric bypass or duodenal switch surgery. Sleeve gastrectomy is only restrictive (reduces stomach volume), not malabsorptive (restrict calories the body can absorb).

Ghrelin and Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

One of the interesting parts about the VSG is that the part of the stomach that's removed is the part that secrets Ghrelin.

Ghrelin is a hormone produced by the stomach that is responsible for feelings of appetite and hunger. Removing this section of the stomach instead of leaving it in place (like gastric bypass) reduces the Ghrelin secretions to almost zero.

Since the surgery is so new, however, it's not really known if the Ghrelin levels eventually increase, as patients report that some hunger and cravings do slowly return.  But less than previously, before the weight loss surgery.

Losing and Keeping the Weight Off

VSG is an alternative to adjustable lap band surgery for people who are at the lower end of weight loss surgery qualifications, as far as BMI (body mass index). Lower end is generally considered as having a BMI between 35 and 45.

Individuals with a BMI of 55 and above may need a duodenal switch, in addition to VSG, for more significant weight loss.

Your stomach is smaller, but because there is no intestinal bypass, there is no decrease in number of calories that are absorbed. So if you live on junk food and high-calorie sweets, this isn't the surgery for you. Unless of course you're willing to commit to a lifestyle change.

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is too new to have longer-term study (5 years or more), to see how well the weight stays off. The longest term study thus far indicates that people having VSG have a better weight loss record than does lap band for a similar time frame.

You Still Need to Watch Calories

Yes, you'll still need to watch your calories after VSG surgery. Your diet will be high in protein, and moderate to low in carbs and fats. You will need to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. The calorie count is low enough that most people achieve at least 80% of their weight loss goal within a year.

Video of Laprascopic VSG

View this YouTube video gives a visual idea of what the surgery looks like.  (May take a moment to load.)

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Will Insurance Cover VSG Weight Loss Surgery?

Be aware that VSG is considered a new weight loss surgery, and some health insurance companies consider it experimental (and won't cover it).

The only way to know for sure, however, is to call up yoru health insurance provider and ask.

Will I "Dump" With VSG?

The "dumping syndrome" that is a fairly common side effect with gastric bypass is non-existant in VSG weight loss surgery.

(Dumping is when a food [usually simple carbs] eaten in too high a quantity causes severe gastrointestinal distress.)


Losing Weight Over 40 Copyright 2007