A new weight reduction surgical option is now available through the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The newest surgical weight loss procedure offered by the Center is the “gastric sleeve,” named as such because a large part of the stomach is removed and the remainder is closed to make a tube-like “sleeve.” The narrow and smaller stomach results in good weight loss by limiting daily food intake, but without the risk of losing vitamins and minerals or the likelihood of diarrhea that can be a problem with gastric bypass surgery. In addition, the gastric sleeve procedure takes less than half as long as gastric bypass and complications after surgery appear to be less common, too.
The gastric sleeve procedure has been gaining popularity among the morbidly obese adult population seeking surgical intervention and there are only a small number of pediatric centers in the U.S. performing this operation for morbidly obese adolescents.
Following surgery, the rate of weight loss from the gastric sleeve procedure seems to fall between the very rapid loss from gastric bypass and the much more gradual loss following the adjustable LAP-BAND® surgery. One feature of the gastric sleeve is that if in the future the weight loss is not acceptable, an option exists to convert the sleeve to a full gastric bypass by creating a small stomach pouch and attaching it further down the small intestine. This results in the decreased absorption of food that is one of the two main ways that the bypass works to cause weight loss. The other, of course, is the smaller stomach to limit intake of calories.
Weight reduction surgery is not advisable for all overweight people, but it does offer an option to those people who have not been able to maintain weight loss through dieting. Typically, those who qualify for weight reduction surgery must be at least 100 pounds over ideal body weight, have a documented attempt to lose weight by following a medically supervised diet for at least 6 months and undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation with the physicians at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Surgical patients must understand that following surgery it will be imperative to maintain an exercise program, limit food amounts and change the types of foods that are eaten. The amount of weight loss and the ability to keep it off depends on how well patients follow the diet and exercise program after surgery.
The Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition also offers the open gastric bypass surgery in which the surgeon makes a single incision in the abdomen to access the stomach, the laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery in which much smaller incisions are made, and the less invasive LAP-BAND® surgery in which a special band is placed around the top of the stomach during surgery to restrict the amount of food intake.
The Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition offers families a comprehensive approach to weight management with programs for both the prevention and treatment of overweight children. Additional information is available at http://www.NationwideChildrens.org/HealthyWeight or by calling 614-722-4824.