Sleeve Gastrectomy

Bariatric surgery is a term for stomach procedures designed to assist patients with health-related issues stemming from weight gain and obesity, including diabetes, sleep apnea, and some forms of heart disease. Increasingly common in recent decades, these procedures have shown considerable success in curbing appetite, reducing food consumption, and fostering weight loss, without an attendant loss of nutrition.

Two leading forms of bariatric surgery are:

  • Gastric sleeve: About 80 percent of the stomach is removed during a gastric-sleeve procedure, also called a gastrectomy. What remains of the stomach is sleeve- rather than pouch-shaped. Its smaller size causes the patient to feel full more quickly when eating.

  • Gastric bypass: In this procedure, the stomach is largely removed from the digestive system altogether. A new, smaller stomach is surgically attached directly to the small intestine, greatly reducing the volume available for food consumption. Gastric bypass is sometimes referred to as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery.

A third form is known as adjustable gastric banding or lap-band surgery. It utilizes a fluid-filled band to restrict the movement of food into the stomach, rather than reducing the size of the stomach itself.

Bariatric procedures can be conducted by means of open surgery, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, or minimally invasive robotic surgery. In robot-assisted bariatric surgery, the medical team uses sophisticated tools that replicate human movement and enhance surgical performance. Robot-assisted bariatric operations are performed at several Baptist Health facilities in Kentucky and Indiana.

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

It is important to note that a robotic procedure does not mean being operated on by a machine, rather than a fellow human. Robotic procedures are robot-assisted procedures, where the robot is a group of tools used by a surgeon and his or her medical team to aid in an operation. These tools are called robots because they mimic human motions and movements, sometimes with greater precision and less fatigue than we’re capable of.

Robotic surgery offers the following benefits:

  • Smaller incisions than with open surgery, and therefore less blood loss

  • Reduced scarring

  • Lower risk of infection

  • Decreased post-surgical pain

  • Shorter hospital stays

  • Quicker recovery times

  • Faster return to normal living.

How Does Robot-assisted Bariatric Surgery Work?

At Baptist Health, robot-assisted bariatric procedures are performed with the aid of the Intuitive da Vinci system. Intuitive is a leading American manufacturer of medical robots and related equipment.

The Intuitive da Vinci system has three parts:

  • a multi-armed robot for making incisions and inserting cameras and other surgical instruments in the patient;

  • a vision cart with endoscopic monitors that provide the surgeon with magnified, three-dimensional, real-time images of the surgical site within the body; and

  • a computerized panel from which the surgeon controls the robot and performs the procedure.

A robotic bariatric procedure is conducted similarly to laparoscopic and other forms of minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon makes tiny incisions for the insertion of a camera – the surgeon’s eyes during the procedure – and other operating instruments for stomach reduction, organ attachment, and incision closure. However, a robot-assisted procedure has the advantage of greater precision than a human operating alone because robot technology downscales the surgeon’s hand motions to extremely fine movements, reducing the possibility of organ or tissue damage.

Joining the surgeon and the robot in the operating room are the entire surgical team, including the anesthesiologist, the nurses, and a second surgeon or surgical assistant for moving the robot into positions that aren’t mechanically controlled.

What to Expect with Robot-assisted Bariatric Surgery

The surgical procedure will take place with you lying on your back. You will be given anesthesia, so that you’ll be unconscious the whole time. The operation will be conducted by means of several small incisions, through which the visual equipment and surgical instruments will be introduced. These incisions will be much smaller than those required by open surgery, reducing the possibility of infection, lessening post-operative pain, and speeding recovery.

A short inpatient stay is common following bariatric surgery, with a longer recovery period at home. Your physical activity will be limited while the incisions heal. Some pain medication may be required.

Food choice will be an important focus going forward. You’ll be able to eat solid foods again in a few weeks. Once you’ve fully recovered, it will be critical to weight loss and health improvement to eat nutritiously, emphasizing proteins, healthy carbs, and reduced levels of unnecessary fats, salts, and sugars. Your doctor will discuss with you the specifics of your post-operative treatment following your procedure.  

Know Your Risk

Baptist Health is committed to being a leading medical provider of robot-assisted diagnosis and surgery in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. If you have questions or concerns about obesity and weight-related health issues, take our online Health Risk Assessment.