The mini-sleeve, also called the mini-VSG, is a less-invasive scaled-down version of the traditional gastric sleeve. The term “mini sleeve” can be confusing as it is often used interchangeably with the surgical technique as well as the type of procedure itself.
Instead of removing 80-85% of the stomach like the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, the mini sleeve reduces the stomach size by 40-50%. The operation utilizes the conventional 3-5 port technique or a single incision for the instruments to be inserted into the abdomen.
The Mini Sleeve procedure is an excellent option for patients with lower body fat looking for a faster recovery, less pain, and lower risk.
What are the requirements for a mini sleeve?
Lower BMI patients are the ideal candidates for this type of minimally invasive procedure. It provides better results for individuals that are overweight or obese with a Body Mass Index between 29 and 35. Since shedding weight is significantly lower than the traditional gastric sleeve, patients will have to work harder to achieve sustained weight loss.
- Minimum body mass index of 29+
- Ability to be dedicated to living healthy
How does it promote weight loss?
The main mechanism of weight reduction is due to hormonal changes besides restriction. By reducing the stomach size the patient can better control their eating habits and continue to a healthier lifestyle.
- A small portion of your stomach is removed.
- You’re going to get full faster.
- You have less urge to eat.
The excised part of the stomach produces Ghrelin – hunger hormones generated in the fundus and the upper portion of the stomach along the greater curvature. It signals your brain and causes hunger sensations and cravings. Much of this Ghrelin hormone is removed from the stomach via the gastric mini sleeve procedure, resulting in little cravings.
How is mini sleeve performed?
Similar to the gastric sleeve, a bougie device is placed orally through the esophagus, which outlines the stomach and acts as a guide to be cut and stapled simultaneously.
The bougie size is much larger in the mini version. Its diameter is measured at 50 French (Fr) compared to the standard 34 French (Fr) size used in gastric sleeve surgery. This allows the patient to keep a large portion of their stomach and essentially have a miniature gastric sleeve.
How long are the surgery duration and recovery time?
The mini vertical sleeve gastrectomy has an operating time of 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the bariatric surgeon’s skills. Patients often recover in 2 to 3 days and heal in 10 to 14 days.
Returning to work is typically within the first week after surgery for desk jobs that don’t require lifting. There are generally lifting restrictions for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
How does mini-sleeve compare to other procedures?
Important: The mini sleeve is not acccepted by the World College of Surgeons consensus. Therefore, it is viewed as an unethical practice by many bariatric surgeons.
Mini sleeve vs. traditional gastric sleeve
Gastric sleeve surgery is similar but more effective than the mini version because twice as much of the stomach is removed. Studies show that the traditional gastric sleeve has higher sustained weight loss 3 to 5 years after surgery and more pounds shed overall.
Compared to the mini gastric sleeve, the original sleeve gastrectomy has higher rates for improving and curing obesity-related conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Mini sleeve vs. endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty
The mini sleeve is sometimes confused with the sleeve gastroplasty procedure performed through the esophagus endoscopically. The endoscopic sleeve is a newer procedure that does not require any incision. Unlike the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, the mini VSG is performed laparoscopically. However, both surgeries have been shown to be less effective than the standard laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, especially for patients with higher BMIs.
When choosing a bariatric procedure, the mini-VSG is a less invasive, less effective weight loss procedure that gives patients the opportunity to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle and generate wholesome habits long-term.
What are the side effects of the mini sleeve?
Iron deficiency is a common side effect of any bariatric surgery including the mini sleeve. This is due to the reduced stomach not being able to produce as well from less nutrient intake. This is why we recommend you to take vitamins and minerals, which have iron and protein, for the rest of your life or at least the first nine months after surgery.
So if you follow those indications, you will not have any problem with nutrient deficiency. Many patients stop taking supplements in the form of pills, tablets, and drink mixes and are at higher risk of developing iron deficiency versus someone with a complete stomach.
Mini Gastric Sleeve Cost
The cost of mini-sleeve surgery out-of-pocket is over $20,000 in the United States. The mini gastric sleeve cost in Mexico ranges from $4,600 to $8,700. Mexico Bariatric Center® offers the all-inclusive mini-sleeve to patients beyond borders for $4,995 and single-incision for $5,995. The package includes the operation, hospital stay, medical tests, transportation, and more.
McCarty Mini Sleeve
Here, it is worth mentioning McCarty’s Mini Sleeve® procedure invented by Dr. McCarty, Dallas, Texas. He has a patent (NOTE) to perform the sleeve procedure through the mouth with only one incision on the stomach. The stomach remanet can be extracted through the esophagus or the tiny incision in the abdomen.
Dr. McCarty considered the patient’s benefits of lower risk, less pain, less downtime, and improved cosmetic appearance. This procedure is very similar to the newer one-incision gastric sleeve (SILS).