Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve) – Future of Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery is a relatively new form of bariatric procedure. Despite it being a relative novel bariatric procedure, an increasing number of people are opting for gastric sleeve surgery in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Delhi, San Jose and other medical tourism destinations. Seeing the preliminary results of this surgery, some doctors claim that in the future it may become a very common bariatric surgery, if not the most popular one.

This procedure is known by a number of alternative names such as Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, Vertical Gastroplasty, Greater Curvature Gastrectomy, Parietal Gastrectomy, Gastric Reduction, and Sleeve Gastroplasty. This article discusses gastric sleeve surgery in general along with some of the advantages and disadvantages to be kept in mind when considering the procedure.

Overview of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

  • Gastric Sleeve was first performed in England in 2002 as a standalone weight loss procedure for anyone with a BMI greater than 35.
  • Traditionally, this weight loss surgery is performed in the first phase of a two-stage bariatric procedure for super obese patients.
  • It is being increasingly adopted as a standalone surgery for lower BMI patients as well.
  • In this bariatric surgery, the surgeon removes approximately 60 to 80 percent of the stomach laparoscopically.
  • In the first stage of the operation the surgeon creates a tube out of the stomach by using staples. The portion of the stomach that is stapled out is them removed. This results in a small sized stomach which takes the shape of a “sleeve”, a “banana” or a “tube”.
  • According to a published research study, a hormone called Ghrelin makes one hungry, slows down metabolism, and decreases the body’s ability to burn fat. This hormone is produced in the stomach. Gastric Sleeve surgery removes the section of the stomach in which Ghrelin is produced. The non production of this hunger inducing hormone results in stifling appetite.

Gastric sleeve works in two ways  – one, by reducing the stomach size to accommodate only small amounts of food, and two, by helping reduce the hormones that are responsible for hunger pangs. This is the reason Gastric Sleeve surgery is believed to be superior by many doctors.

Benefits of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

  • Can result in 30 to 60% excess weight loss within 12 months of the procedure
  • Less invasive than gastric bypass and does not result in altering or cutting of the intestines
  • No dumping syndrome associated with gastric sleeve
  • No malabsorption as in the case of gastric bypass surgery
  • No dependence on nutritional supplements
  •  No foreign device in the body, unlike a LAP BAND
  • Considered less risky for high BMI patients
  •  Better for patients with complex medical conditions
  • Less dietary restrictions

Disadvantages of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

  • Relatively new procedure; there are no long term scientific studies. Although preliminary results are very promising
  • Once performed this procedure cannot be reversed
  • Experienced surgeons can sometimes be difficult to find due to it being a new procedure
  • Insurance companies do not cover gastric sleeve surgery

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery also provides a position statement on Gastric Sleeve.

Destinations for Low Cost Gastric Sleeve

Those looking to circumvent the high cost of gastric sleeve surgery in their home countries can look into the following options –

  • India – Home to various JCI and NABH accredited and Harvard Medical affiliate hospitals. Logistically suitable for obesity patients from the UK and other parts of Europe, Nigeria, Kenya and other African countries, and Australia.
  • Mexico – Offers the advantage of geographical proximity to US and Canadian citizens. Weight loss surgery in Mexico is popular as the country abounds in state-of-the-art JCI accredited and ISO certified hospitals that offer quality services at a fraction of American prices. Americans from California can look into gastric sleeve in Tijuana, located only about 17 miles from San Diego.
  • USA – Surprisingly, there are options for low cost gastric sleeve surgery in Las Vegas. A good alternative for those who want to avoid traveling abroad.
  • Costa Rica – Another good option for North Americans looking for surgery closer home. The sylvan, tropical environs of the Latin American country which complement the value for money provided by its well-equipped hospitals make gastric sleeve surgery in Costa Rica a good decision.

Planning Your Trip for Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad

  • An accredited and reputable hospital would be a better choice for getting a gastric sleeve surgery than going to a surgery center or a clinic.
  • In case of emergency or medical complications, a hospital will be better equipped with its team of medical specialists and equipment and services available at the same location.
  • Look for hospitals that are accredited or certified by renowned third party organizations. This ensures that the hospital observes strict enforcement of high quality standards and provides good client service.

We recommend that you always check with a qualified physician before making any gastric sleeve surgery related decision.


Medical-Trip facilitates low-cost Gastric Sleeve in India, Mexico and Costa Rica. For more information, fill the estimate-request form on the right.