Stomach Bypass Surgery Or Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Stomach Bypass Surgery (Gastric Bypass Surgery)


If you think about it, stomach bypass surgery or gastric bypass is a procedure that could be described as a life saving operation. Obesity has become a serious problem in today’s modern world as demonstrated by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

That survey did show that about two-third of adult Americans over the age of 20 are either overweight or obese.

Some of these individuals have difficulty losing weight with regular methods using diets, pills, exercise. These individuals certainly may wish to consider stomach bypass surgery or gastric bypass a viable alternative to achieve their ideal weight bringing them to healthy weight zone.

I’m not in any way suggesting that this decision should be taken lightly but it is certainly one to pursue.

What is the most common stomach bypass surgery (gastric bypass) procedure performed?

 By far the most popular and relatively safe stomach bypass surgical procedure performed is the Roux en Y gastric bypass surgery. First performed by a Swiss surgeon, Cesar Roux, it’s one procedure that has been tried and tested for several decades.

The procedure has two components to it – a restrictive part and a malabsorptive aspect as explained.

 How does the stomach bypass surgery work?

Yes, it is both restrictive and malabsorptive.

Restrictive because the stomach is made significantly smaller  (stomach reduction) to just about 10% of its original size.

This limits the amount of food you can eat at any given time. If you eat more than the size of the new stomach can accommodate, you will feel very uncomfortable and may actually vomit. Eating smaller quantities means you are consuming less calories….a good start, isn’t it?

Malabsorptive because part of the small intestine where most of the calories get absorbed is bypassed. Less calories absorbed leads to gradual weight loss and fat loss.

 How is the stomach bypass surgery (gastric bypass) perfomed?

The procedure can be performed via either the open route or laparoscopic route. The laparoscopic approach is becoming more popular than the open method.

A small incision is first made on the navel and the tummy is filled with a body-friendly gas.

A long instrument called trocar is then put through the cut on the navel. A camera is connected to the end of that long instrument. This camera provides the bariatric surgeon with a good, clear view of the ‘inside of the tummy’. and is a great assistance to the surgeon.

A poor view from the camera means the procedure cannot proceed, at least laparoscopically anyway. The procedure can only continue under such circumstances by reverting to the open type. So the camera view is very important!

3 or 4 more small cuts are made on the upper part of the tummy so more trocars can be introduced inside the belly to facilitate the operation process.

A small pouch is created from the upper part of the stomach. This pouch is deliberately designed to be very small, holding only about 50ml of food.

The pouch is then connected to the upper part of the small intestine, bypassing the lower stomach and part of the intestine called the duodenum and some part of the jejunum.

When the stomach bypass procedure is completed, the trocars are removed, gas expelled from the tummy and the small cuts stitched up.

Food when eaten moves from the stomach pouch through to the connected part of the small intestine cleverly avoiding the bypassed stomach and upper intestine, significantly reducing the amount of calories absorbed from the digested small quantity of eaten food.


 How much can you lose with stomach bypass surgery (gastric bypass)?

Weight loss following any bariatric surgery varies from individual to individual. There is good evidence that stomach bypass surgery can lead to an average of 70% loss of excess body weight over time. Most of the weight will be lost in the first year.

As an example, if your ideal body weight should be 170lbs and you currently weigh 290lbs, then you are 120lbs overweight i.e 290 – 170 = 120.

Following gastric bypass surgery, you can expect to lose 84lbs which is 70% of 120lbs as a rule of thumb.

Some people may lose more, some others may lose less.

 What happens after stomach bypass surgery or gastric bypass?

You will be expected to spend about 2 days in hospital following laparoscopic stomach bypass surgery but will stay longer if you had an open surgery. The stitches will be removed around the 5th day.

A bariatric nurse will be in close contact with you and more importantly a dietitian will work closely with you to get you accustomed to your new diet.

You will initially be started on liquid diet for the first 10 days or so after your gastric bypass before semi-solid diet is introduced for another 3 to 4 weeks.

Once your dietitian is happy with your progress, solid food is finally introduced. You will need to learn a different way of eating for instance, learning to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing, not drinking at the time you eat i.e you drink in between meals etc.

Be aware that following stomach bypass surgery, the way you eat is going to change forever to maintain your weight and keep it in the healthy zone and this will be addressed by your assigned dietitian.

Your bariatric surgeon should see you at regular intervals to ensure you are making the desired progress and that there are no complications arising from your operation.

Your progress will be monitored very closely by the entire team over the coming months and in fact, there you should be a 24-hour emergency helpline made available to you, to call if necessary.

Your bariatric health provider should have a well structured, behavioural and lifestyle program in place for the long term for the sustained weight loss results.

All being well, you should be able to return to normal duties after about 4 weeks or thereabout after having your stomach bypass surgery or gastric bypass.

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