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Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Pouch Revision Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

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April 20th, 2012 By Jeremy Korman

How Long has Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery Been Around?

The development of the gastric sleeve surgery was a gradual process, beginning with the earliest types of weight loss surgery. Because it does not involve the installation of any medical devices such as a lap-band, the surgery does not require FDA approval (though instruments used to perform surgery do). As such, the actual date of this procedure’s genesis, if you look at it one way, isn’t as clear as you might think.

The short history of sleeve gastrectomy


The gastric sleeve technique likely took hold between 1997 and 2005. At this time a weight loss procedure called the duodenal switch was being performed for weight loss. In patients with an extremely high BMI (body mass index), surgeons noted higher complication rates. Therefore, a “staging” solution was developed, in which the sleeve gastrectomy — the less invasive portion of the procedure — was performed first, and then the duodenal switch was completed after the patient had achieved a healthier weight. This technique was applied with the gastric bypass operation, as well, when a patient’s starting weight was dangerously high.

The result, as you might suspect, was that many patients lost a considerable amount of weight with the gastric sleeve and never went on to require the second portion of their procedure. Today the gastric sleeve is more often performed as a stand-alone procedure. Gastric sleeve surgery works by removing about three-quarters of the stomach. The remaining stomach is much smaller, and holds less food, so the patient becomes full much faster. This allows the patient to eat less while still feeling satisfied. On average, patients who follow the doctor’s recommendations for diet and exercise can expect to lose 55 percent of their excess weight within 18 months following surgery.

Lower risk alternative

The sleeve gastrectomy is also perceived by surgeons as a lower-risk alternative to gastric bypass, especially in high-BMI individuals, because it involves less radical surgical changes to the internal organs.

More and more insurance companies are now covering the gastric sleeve. Talk to your company’s HR representative or, if you have individual coverage, your broker or your insurer’s customer-service department. Obtain the “certificate of coverage” and have the official explain it to you; this is where the coverage details are spelled out.

Contact us today

If you would like help deciding if this modern, exciting weight loss procedure is for you, or if you need help navigating the insurance-approval process, we are happy to assist. Call us at (800) 491-1977 today!

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By Jeremy Korman