The gastric sleeve is gaining popularity as a weight loss surgery. The full name of the procedure is vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It is often shortened to gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy. These procedures are all the same.

While the gastric sleeve has not been a stand alone procedure for weight loss as long as some other procedures, it has been around for a very long time. The sleeve gatrectomy was previously used in two ways. It was used as a treatment for people with stomach ulcers and as the first half of a weight loss surgery known as the duodenal switch.

Doctors noticed that the ulcer patients lost weight after the surgery. They also noticed that the patients maintained the weight loss. Doctors performing the duodenal switch noticed something interesting as well.

The duodenal switch is sometimes done as a two stage operation, the first half being the gastric sleeve. After the patient loses weight they go back and do the second part. Doctors realized that patients were losing enough weight after the sleeve gastrectomy to forego the second stage of weight loss surgery. After studies of both sets of patients doctors began to do the gastric sleeve as a stand alone procedure.

In a gastric sleeve the smaller stomach is made in the shape of a tube. This is done along the side of the stomach reaching from the esophagus down to the pyloric valve leading to the intestines, nothing is bypassed. The excess stomach is removed. It is commonly accepted that the portion of the stomach used to form the tube in this procedure is less stretchy that the portion used to make the pouch in a gastric bypass. This results in a stomach less prone to stretching.

Gastric sleeve patients report less problems with digestion since there is no rerouting of the intestines. The weight loss is comparable to other types of weight loss surgery. More and more bariatric surgeons are adding the gastric sleeve to their practice.