Endoluminal sleeve

An endoluminal sleeve is a flexible tube which is designed to fit and line part of the gastrointestinal tract to restrict the amount of calories absorbed by the body. This type of weight loss surgery is sometimes referred to as a malabsorptive surgical procedure.

An endoluminal sleeve is primarily a procedure attempted for severely overweight individuals to help them lose weight. However, due to the restriction this procedure places upon the diffusion of calories into the body after eating it is sometimes considered to improve blood glucose control for individuals suffering with type II diabetes.

An endoluminal sleeve can remain in the gastrointestinal tract for several months before it needs removing. As it does not require incisions to be made, it is sometimes used as a safe, initial option for patients who are then more prepared for the much needed lifestyle choices to decide whether to undergo more permanent weight loss surgical procedures.

An endoluminal sleeve procedure is an operation that is performed under general anaesthesia. The advantage of this procedure is that the sleeve can be passed down to the gastrointestinal tract through the mouth and as such the procedure does not require any incisions to be made.

A specialised, flexible tube which has tools on the end, known as an endoscope, is passed through the mouth, down the oesophagus in to the stomach. From here, the surgeon is able to pass the tube through to a part of the gastrointestinal tract known as the small intestine.

The endoluminal sleeve attaches via specialised hooks to the upper part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum and the sleeve lines the rest of the duodenum and next part of the small intestine known as the jejunum.

This allows food to pass through this area of the small intestine without having the ability to pass nutrients in to the body, thereby, leading to weight loss.

In general, an endoluminal sleeve procedure is considered far safer than open surgical techniques for weight loss. There are no incisions and as such there is no chance of wound infections. However, there are still some risks that patients should be aware of:

  • Anaesthetic risk
  • Nausea and fatigue following the operation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Laceration to certain parts of the gastrointestinal tract (Normally on removal of the endoluminal sleeve)

Although this procedure is not an open operation using incisions, an endoluminal sleeve procedure is a significant undertaking. Fatigue and nausea may follow the operation. Patients will normally be allowed to go home the day after surgery.

An endoluminal sleeve may remain in situ for a period of a few months. If no complications arise then early research indicates that for most individuals they can expect to lose significant amounts of weight during the time the sleeve is in situ. Longer term, once the endoluminla sleeve has been removed patients may move forward to undergo more invasive weight loss procedures to keep the benefits.

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