Gastric Bypass

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How a Gastric Bypass Works to Help You Lose Weight

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is one of the most frequently performed procedures for morbid obesity in the U.S.   It restricts food intake and the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs. During a gastric bypass procedure, both restrictive and malabsorptive surgery techniques are performed. The surgeon first creates a small stomach pouch and then attaches a section of the small intestine directly to the pouch. This allows food to bypass a portion of the small intestine, which absorbs calories and nutrients. Having a smaller stomach pouch causes you to feel full sooner and eat less food; bypassing a portion of the small intestine means your body absorbs fewer calories. Gastric bypass patients report an early sense of fullness and satisfaction that reduces the amount of calories that the patient will eat.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Benefits

Improvements in health, quality of life, and, of course, significant weight loss are important bariatric surgery benefits.  In addition to these benefits multiple studies have demonstrated long term cost savings due to reduced medical care and related expenses.

Improvement or resolution of many serious health problems: In a clinical study, gastric bypass surgery reduced the total number of serious health problems (known as comorbid conditions or comorbidities) of participating patients by 96%.  Significant improvements or complete resolution of patients medical problems are expected even with a modest amount of weight loss and are often seen very quickly after surgery if not right away.

  • Type 2 Diabetes  Resolved in 83% of patients. In fact, in some gastric bypass cases, resolution of type 2 diabetes occurred within days of the surgery.
  • High Blood Pressure  Resolved in 67% of patients
  • High Cholesterol  Improved in 94% of patients
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea  Resolved in 80% of patients
  • Acid Reflux/GERD  Resolved in 98% of patients
  • Depression  Improved in 47% of patients
  • Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain  Resolved in 41% of patients  and improved in the majority of individuals
  • Stress Urinary Incontinence  Resolved in 44% of patients
  • Menstrual Dysfunction Due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome  Resolved in nearly 100% of patients
  • Ovulation and Fertility Restored  Restored in nearly 100% of patients when the infertility is weight related
  • Quality-of-life improvements:  Clinical studies of laparoscopic bariatric surgery patients found that they felt better, spent more time doing recreational and physical activities, benefited from enhanced productivity and economic opportunities, and had more self-confidence than they did prior to surgery.

Significant weight loss after bariatric surgery: As a result of gastric bypass, patients typically lose more then 65% of their excess body weight in the first year following surgery.  About 75% of patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery are able to keep off at least 50% of their excess weight for 10 years or longer.

Weight loss surgery cost savings over time: A recent study showed that bariatric surgery pays for itself in about 2 years.  One important reason is that weight loss surgery may help to improve or resolve conditions associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, so patients save money on related prescription drugs, doctor visits, and hospital visits.

Gastric Bypass Procedure

During a gastric bypass the stomach is divided into a small pouch (about the size of an egg) and the part of the stomach left behind that will not recieve food (bypassed portion of stomach).  The small intestine is divided about 2 feet below the stomach and the lower end it pulled up to new pouch and attached.  The part of intestine coming from the liver/pancreas and bypassed portion of stomach  is brought down about 5-7 feet below the pouch and the two segments of bowel are attached.

Gastric Bypass from Midtown Surgical on Vimeo.

Gastric Bypass Risks and Related Complications

As with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications can occur with gastric bypass. We’re committed to providing you with the information you need to make a well-informed decision about your surgery. Although these problems rarely occur, we want you to know the facts.  Due to the significant number of procedures now performed and the development of Centers of Excellence, surgical weight loss is infact some of the safest surgical abdominal operations performed today.  Prior to considering any weightloss procedure you should be familiar with all of these potential risks.  Some of the more salient risks are list below.  For a more complete list of risk please review the gastric bypass consent form posted on our forms page.

Potentially serious complications:

  • Perforation of stomach/intestine or leakage, causing peritonitis or abscess
  • Internal bleeding requiring transfusion or reoperation
  • Spleen injury requiring removal/other organ injury
  • Gastric outlet or bowel obstruction
  • Blood clots (DVT) with or without pulmonary embolus (PE)
  • Death

Other complications generally considered minor:

  • Minor wound or skin infection/scarring, deformity, loose skin
  • Vomiting or nausea/inability to eat certain foods/improper eating
  • Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), acid reflux (heartburn)
  • Anemia, metabolic deficiency (iron, vitamins, minerals), temporary hair loss
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, malodorous stool or gas
  • Development of gallstones or gallbladder disease
  • weight gain, failure to lose satisfactory weight
  • Intolerance to refined sugars (dumping), with nausea, sweating, weakness

Things to Consider

  • Gastric Bypass surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have evaluated all other options.
  • Weight loss surgery is not cosmetic surgery. The procedures do not involve the removal of fatty tissue by cutting or suction
  • The success of weight loss surgery is dependent on long-term lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.
  • A decision to elect surgical treatment for weightloss requires an assessment of the benefits and risks as well as the meticulous performance of the appropriate surgical procedure by an experienced bariatric surgeon associated with a center of excellence hospital/program.
  • Patients with uncontrolled diabetes or tend to desire sweets maybe better off choosing a gastric bypass over other procedures
  • Patients are greater weights/BMI maybe better suited for a gastric bypass then other operations due to the amount of weight loss that is expected

If you’re considering gastric bypass surgery, we encourage you to attend one of our free weight loss surgery information seminars.  You’ll learn about the risks and benefits of surgical weight loss options, you’ll meet bariatric team members who will support you before and long after your surgery, and you may also hear from patients who have had weight loss surgery. There’s no pressure to make a commitment—and no better way to get the answers you’re looking for. Of course, family and friends are welcome, too.

Want to talk it over? We’re ready to help. Call our office at 706-481-7298 and one of our staff members experienced in all aspects of weightloss surgery will be happy to answer your questions.