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Gastric Sleeve procedure now available at Mercy to help patients lose excess body fat and improve health

August 5, 2010

Sleeve gastrectomy—also referred to as the gastric sleeve—is the newest of three surgical options Mercy bariatric surgeons are using to help patients lose excess body weight and improve their health.  

During this procedure, Mercy bariatric surgeons Dr. Mark Smolik and Dr. Steve Cahalan create a small, sleeve-shaped stomach by stapling and dividing it vertically. As a result, between 70-80 percent of the stomach is removed; thus creating a smaller stomach, reducing the amount of food a patient can eat and promoting weight loss.

The gastric sleeve procedure can be described as a middle-of-the-road approach to surgical weight loss. “With a sleeve gastrectomy, there is no reliance on a device to ensure the weight loss, as there is with a gastric band. There also is no intestinal bypass with this procedure, only stomach reduction, so the patient avoids life-long reliance on vitamins and supplements,” says Mark Smolik, M.D., Mercy Bariatric Surgery Center medical director. “The gastric sleeve also requires less surgeon follow-up compared to the band, therefore, being beneficial to our patients who live in rural Iowa communities,” he adds.

Mercy bariatric surgeons perform the vast majority of surgeries through a minimally invasive approach, using several small incisions instead of a single, large one. That means recovery time, discomfort and potential for surgical wound complications are significantly reduced, and patients can return to normal, daily activities much faster. Patients undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure normally require only a one-night hospital stay.

Weight loss associated with the gastric sleeve, based on available clinical data, shows patients lose 60 percent of their excess body weight by the end of the first year. That is less than with gastric bypass, but more than patients achieve with a gastric band.

Like with all elective bariatric surgeries, insurance coverage is based on individual policies. Mercy is an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Surgery Center of Excellence and performs more than 125 bariatric surgical cases a year at Mercy West Lakes.For more information or to learn how to get started in the surgery process, please visit or call (515) 358-9400.  

Contact Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

cell 515-490-6636

1111 6th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 (515) 247-3121
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