The gastric bypass procedure is a type of weight loss, or bariatric surgery intended to physically alter the size of the stomach in order to reduce food intake. There are several types of gastric bypass surgeries including Roux-en-Y, biliopancreatic diversion bypass, and duodenal switch.
How gastric bypass surgery works
Gastric bypass surgery works by making the stomach into a small pouch. The stomach pouch is either stapled or closed off with a plastic or silicone band. The pouch itself is about the size of a walnut.
Less food consumption, greater weight loss
Gastric bypass surgery changes the anatomy of your digestive system in order to limit food intake. Nutrients from food are decreased and bypass the rest of the stomach and small intestine. The patient feels full faster and eats less due to malabsorption: decreased ability to absorb the calories and nutrients from food.
Gastric bypass surgery facts
Gastric bypass surgery is a major procedure and is not for everyone who is overweight or obese. Gastric bypass provides long term weight loss in conjunction with the lifestyle changes that comes with bariatric surgery. Successful weight loss and smooth recovery is in large part based on the patient's determination and understanding of how much of an impact bariatric surgery has on the mind and body.
- Gastric bypass surgery takes approximately four hours. (Time varies.)
- General anesthesia is required for gastric bypass surgery.
- An overnight stay in the hospital of one to five days is normal.
- There is a possibility of having a catheter tube that goes through your nose into your stomach for one or two days that helps drain fluids from your abdomen.
- A catheter tube protruding from the side of the abdomen will also be connected to the larger part of your stomach that was bypassed to also help drain fluids from your side. The tube is removed in approximately four - six weeks.
Gastric bypass risks
As with all other major weight loss surgeries, risks can occur. The following complications are possible with gastric bypass surgery:
- Infection at the incision site
- Leakage at the staples (or sutures) or the connection from the stomach
- Dumping syndrome (intestinal pain, nausea, or vomiting caused by concurrent eating and drinking)
- Chronic diarrhea due to dumping syndrome
- Stomach ulcers or hernia
- Foul smelling stools and flatulence
- Gallstones, anemia, or osteoporosis due to malnutrition
- Iron and vitamin B12 deficiency
- Nausea and vomiting after eating due to the narrowing of the stomach and intestine connection
- Bypassed stomach enlargement, causing bloating and hiccups
Find out more about bariatric surgery
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Find out if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery.