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Image of Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) - bariatric surgery

What is VSG Surgery?

A vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is a minimally invasive procedure during which the size of your stomach is reduced to three or four ounces. This limits the amount of food you can eat to help you lose weight. After a VSG, levels of ghrelin  — a hunger hormone — also drop, so your appetite is initially reduced. Patients who choose VSG can expect to lose up to 60 percent of their excess body weight.

This type of weight-loss surgery is associated with minimal post-operative pain. During the procedure, your surgeon will make four to five small incisions — usually about the width of your fingertip — and insert small tools into the incisions to reduce the size of your stomach. You will spend one to two days recovering in the hospital.

Possible Advantages of Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • Reduced hunger
  • Restricted portions
  • Less of a risk of malabsorption
  • No dumping syndrome
  • Durable weight loss
  • Improvement or complete resolution of more than 40 weight-related diseases

Possible Disadvantages of Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • Ulcers from smoking or NSAID use
  • Stricture or narrowing of sleeve
  • Less weight loss than gastric bypass on average
  • Gastroesophageal reflux

Recovery and Diet After Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Like other types of weight loss surgery, VSG requires lifelong lifestyle changes to help you sustain your weight loss. 

Shortly after surgery, you'll begin reintroducing foods into your diet in phases. You'll start consuming a clear liquid diet within 24 hours of your surgery, then advance to a full liquid diet, a soft food diet, and your regular diet in the weeks ahead.

You will have follow-up visits with your bariatric surgery team 10 days after your surgery, then again after six weeks, three months, six months, and anually thereafter. You'll also work with a registered dietitian and have the opportunity to attend support groups with other baraiatric surgery alumni to help ensure you don't fall back into old habits.

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