What is gastric bypass surgery?

Table of content
Key Takeaways:
Gastric bypass is a surgical process that can assist people with obesity to lose weight and enhance their health. It lowers the size of the stomach and changes the way the stomach and small intestine absorb food, creating it easier to lose weight. This process is also called a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

When should I consider gastric bypass surgery?

If you are very heavy and have other health problems, and currently have tried hard to lose weight by staying on a diet and doing more physical exercise, your doctor might propose gastric bypass surgery to help with weight loss.

Gastric bypass surgery is a extremely effective type of surgery for weight loss, but it is not for every person. Discuss with your doctor which approach is best for you, and have a discussion about what to expect. You could ask:

  • What’s the average loss of weight after a year?
  • What’s the average loss of weight after 5 years?
  • What’s my role after surgery?

Losing weight after gastric bypass surgery can assist reduce troubles with type 2 diabetes, asthma episodes and blood pressure, and can assist improve heart health.

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How do I prepare for gastric bypass surgery?

If you are preparing to have surgery, you are probably to need different tests to help make sure that a gastric bypass is right for you.

Your doctor will suggest you about any changes you need to make to medicines and diet in the weeks or days before surgery.

What happens during gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is carried out while under general anaesthetic and will more than likely involve a hospital stay of 3 to 5 days.

The surgery is generally done as a keyhole procedure, but sometimes an open operation is needed.

During the approach, staples are used to create a small pouch in the top part of the stomach, as the image below shows.

The pouch is connected by stitches to the lower part of the small intestine so food will bypass most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine.

Less food will be absorbed into the body and you will feel full after eating only a small amount.

What can I expect after the procedure?

If you have had gastric bypass surgery, at first you will be on liquid food only. That will alter to pureed food then to solids after a few weeks.

A dietitian will suggest you on how you can shift your eating habits after gastric bypass surgery to always keep healthy while losing weight.

You will also need to get vitamin and mineral supplements for life to change those normally absorbed in the first part of the small intestine.

You have an necessary role to play to lose weight. If you comply with your dietary guidelines and do more physical activity, that will improve the amount of weight you will lose. You will need to make these changes to your lifestyle permanent to keep the weight off.

What can go wrong?

As with any surgery, there is a associated risk of infection or that the surgery does not work. There could also be bleeding or leaks from the staple line or joins, or bowel obstruction.

Some people discover they have low blood sugar after surgery and feel weak. A very few don’t absorb all the nutritional vitamins they need. Talk to your doctor about the risks of the procedure.

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