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Jane E. Lasky

Career journalist Jane E. Lasky has been chasing scintillating stories for as long as she can remember. Her work has appeared in Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Vogue, Metropolitan Home and a slew of other publications.

Rosie O’Donnell spoke in Detroit on Valentine’s Day, talking about health and revealing she had weight loss surgery in the form of VGS, or vertical gastric sleeve.

So what is VGS?

Rosie O

This procedure — also referred to as sleeve gastrectomy, vertical gastrectomy, greater curvature gastrectomy, parietal gastrectomy, gastric reduction, logitudinal gastrectomy and vertical gastroplasty — is an uncommon way to ensure weight loss by having your stomach actually reduced in size.

Only about two dozen physicians around the world have done this surgery in the past and until recently, only high risk patients are offered the opportunity. These days, though, low BMI candidates as well as low risk patients have the chance to undergo this alternative to laparoscopic stomach banding.

Rosie O’Donnell became one of those patients last summer after a big scare. A year prior to getting the surgery, the comedian and actress suffered a near fatal heart attack. Afterward, she discovered she was at risk for another heart attack and needed to lose a lot of weight in order to lower her chances of that happening. The VGS procedure made that possible by restricting the amount of food that she is now able to consume.

The reason Rosie can’t eat as much as she once could is because, with this operation, some 85 percent of her stomach, if not more, was removed. This was done without “bypassing the intestines or causing any gastrointestinal malabsorption,” according to Obesity Help who states that this is a “purely restrictive operation currently indicated as an alternative to the Lap-Band procedure for low weight individuals and as a safe option for higher weight individuals.”

A number of benefits to opt for this kind of surgery are on record. One takes into consideration the way in which the operation is done. Instead of creating a pouch utilizing silastic rings or polypropylene mesh, VGS is done with the stomach being resected, meaning that the majority of the stomach is actually removed.

Rosie O’Donnell reports that she has lost 40 pounds since her VGS operation last summer and is instructed by her doctor to lost 40 more pounds in order to be in the best health possible. Obviously, she is on the way, largely because of the surgery she decided to have in order to reduce her chances of another heart attack. This is modern science at work in a wonderful way that should prolong Rosie’s life like it has with other patients’ who have chosen this kind of radical surgery in the past and for others who will do so in the future.