Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy—Open
(Sleeve Gastrectomy—Open; VSG—Open)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is surgery to decrease the structure and size of the stomach.
Reasons for Procedure
This surgery is done to make the size of the stomach smaller. This will make a person feel full quickly. This will promote weight loss in people who are obese. It is done when other methods have not been helpful.
In addition to helping a person lose weight, this surgery may also:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The bariatric surgery team will meet with you to talk about:
You will be given general anesthesia. You will be asleep.
Description of the Procedure
A long incision will be made in the abdomen. Staples will be used to divide the stomach vertically. The new stomach will be the shape of a slim banana. It can only hold 10% of what a normal adult stomach can hold. The rest of the stomach will be removed. Staples or stitches will be used to close the incision. A bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
About 2 hours
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first week. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 4 to 6 days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
After the procedure, the staff may:
Your bowels will work more slowly than usual. Chewing gum may help speed the process of your bowel function returning to normal.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
It will take a few weeks for the incision and muscles to fully heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time. You will need to ask for help at home and delay your return to work.
Dietary changes, regular exercise, and counseling will need to be part of your recovery and lifelong weight loss plan.
Problems to Look Out For
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Accessed September 27, 2021.
Bariatric surgery in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/bariatric-surgery-in-adults. Accessed September 27, 2021.
Gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy. UC San Diego Health website. Available at: https://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/surgery/bariatric/weight-loss-surgery/gastric-sleeve/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed September 27, 2021.
Gastric sleeve surgery. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/bariatric/treatments/gastric-sleeve. Accessed September 27, 2021.
Weight-loss (bariatric) surgery. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery. Accessed September 27, 2021.
Weight management procedures. North Shore Medical Center website. Available at: https://nsmc.partners.org/weight_management/procedures. Accessed September 27, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/27/2021
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