Gastric Bypass Surgery: What to expect?

Gastric Bypass surgery is one of the most common types of surgeries that is performed for weight loss. This is also called the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. 

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery which is also known as bariatric bypass surgery is one of the procedures that is used to create a small pouch that is meant to bypass the stomach and is attached to the intestine. This procedure is usually irreversible at least in most cases. 

There are mainly two types of gastric bypass procedures that are usually performed. 

  1. The first one is Laparoscopically performed surgery which may involve making ¼ to ½ inch incisions over the abdomen. 
  2. The second one is a traditional open procedure where an abdominal incision of over 10 to 12 inch is made. 

This type of surgery may approximately take upto 1.5 hours and you may be required to stay in the hospital for upto two to three days. The average recovery time for this procedure is around two weeks. 

How does it work?

This type of surgery is mainly meant to restrict the amount of food that you can eat and will reduce the number of calories that your body can potentially absorb. Due to this the weight loss can be pretty rapid. Within the next 12 to 18 months after the surgery you should be able to lose at least 60 to 80 percent of the excess body weight. 

When the procedure is performed normally what would happen after you receive the general anesthesia is:

  1. The surgeon will assess your abdomen wearing proper surgical masks and surgical gloves. They will use the surgical staples in order to create a small pouch onto the top of your stomach. This pouch should generally be able to hold upto one cup of food and will act like a new smaller stomach for you. Your normal stomach is generally able to hold at least four to six cups of food depending upon its capacity. 
  2. They will proceed to cut your small small intestine and attach it to the new small stomach/ pouch. With this your intestinal bypass will be carried out and now your food would be able to move from your new stomach to the midsection of your small intestine. This is meant to bypass the lower stomach and the upper section of your small intestine. 
  3. Next the upper section of your small intestine will be attached to the middle section of your small intestine. This way the digestive fluids by the lower stomach will move down into the upper section of the small intestine to the middle intestine. 
  4. Lastly, the incisions will be closed using staples or stitches. 

Why is gastric bypass surgery performed and what are the risks?

The gastric bypass surgery is usually performed on people who may be severely overweight and are unable to lose weight simply through diet or exercise. The surgery may however deeply impact the lifestyle of those who get it and they must be required to greatly change their lifestyle and eating habits. 

The risks of this surgery may involve Dumping syndrome which happens when food moves too quickly through the small intestine especially the sweet or high fat foods. It can cause many severe conditions like nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, sweating and weakness. Other complications may include perforation of stomach or intestines, leakage within the surgical connection, internal bleeding due to the surgical wound or bowel obstruction. 

Conclusion

Normally your bariatric surgeon will properly review and inform you of all the risks and complications before and after the surgery. It is only proper that you get a few opinions here and there and thoroughly consider all your options before putting in such a life long commitment.

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About the Author: Abhay Choubey

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