Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery Explained

Gastric Bypass Surgery is a proven method for permanent weight loss as well as a potential cure for Type II Diabetes and other conditions related to morbid obesity. The surgery helps weight loss by changing how their stomach and small intestine handle the food they eat. The surgery is recommended when non-surgical treatments, such as diet, exercise and medicines have not worked. Generally, the surgery is considered for patients who have a body mass index of 40 or higher or if there is a life threatening or disabling condition related to the patient’s weight.

Preparation before the procedure includes a thorough and extensive screening process like blood tests, physical exams, bleeding and clotting time, and other needed laboratory work-ups. The patient will be required to follow a strict pre-op diet as well as quit the use of alcohol or any tobacco products. The operation typically requires a two to four day stay in the hospital and is done under general anesthesia.

During the surgery, the surgeon uses surgical staples to create a pouch from the upper part of the stomach separating it from the rest. A section of the intestine is then bypassed and re-connected to the pouch. This then creates a shorter route for the food to pass in the digestive system, thus lesser food is absorbed in the body. Gastric bypass can be done by making a large incision in the abdomen (an open procedure) or by making a small incision and using small instruments and a camera to guide the surgery (laparoscopic approach). Other than the small size of the digestive system, some scientists also believe that weight loss following bariatric surgery is also the result of diminished hormone called ghrelin, which is secreted by endocrine cells within the stomach.

Just like any surgery, gastric bypass involves a set of risks. Risks common to all surgeries for weight loss include an infection in the incision, a leak from the stomach into the abdominal cavity or where the intestine is connected which may lead to peritonitis, and a blood clot in the lung. Ulcers may develop 5 to 15% of the time.

Weight loss is the major benefit of gastric bypass surgery. An expected weight loss of 65% to 80% of excess body weight is typical of most large series of the surgery. Hypertension is relieved in over 70% of patients and medication requirements are usually reduced in the remainder. Obstructive sleep apnea is markedly improved with weight loss and bariatric surgery may be curative for sleep apnea. Snoring also improves in most patients. Over 90% of patients with type II non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus are expected to be off medication. Problems like, asthma, joint pain, arthritis, reflux, fatigue and shortness of breath are also improved or cured.

After the surgery, a restriction of eating for one to two days to allow the stomach to heal may be required, to be followed by a specific diet for about 12 weeks. Normal activities can be resumed after a short healing time, typically within 3 to 5 weeks. Following the procedure, the patient needs to follow the exercise and nutrition guidelines established by the physician and the dietician to lose weight and avoid complications of the procedure.

If you have any questions about Gastric Bypass surgery and whether it’s right for you, contact any of our Care Facilitators today at 1-800-270-7120!