Gastric Bypass Surgery: Stomach Reduction, Weight Loss Surgery
What Is It?
Gastric bypass surgery is surgery that reduces the size of the stomach so food can pass more easily through the small intestine. This surgery tends to make people feel full quickly and thus reduces how much food people are likely to eat. This means you eat fewer calories and hence tend to lose weight. If the surgeon also bypasses a part of the intestine then patients can also absorb fewer calories, which also contributes to weight loss.
Among the different types of bypass surgery include the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
Typically when someone eats food goes through the stomach to the small intestine, where nutrients and calories absorb what they can. Then food passes into the colon and waste exists the body. In a gastric bypass procedure, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach in several ways. One way is to create a small pouch located at the top of the stomach by sealing it with a lap band or special staples. The stomach, now much smaller, is then connected to the middle of the small intestine instead of the beginning.
This will cause the patient to absorb fewer calories, healing them to lose weight. Usually the surgeon begins by creating a large incision in the stomach or a smaller incision in the stomach if the surgeon intends to perform the surgery by laparoscope.
Alternatives to Surgery
Most patients will try many different approaches to weight loss before surgery. For example, patients will try many diet and exercise programs. Some may work with a nutritionist. Most doctors will recommend patients work with a nutritionist and some require patients to lose some weight before surgery. There are cases however where losing weight immediately is critical for the patient’s survival, and in these cases the surgery is highly recommended. The surgery is not without risk however.
Before The Operation
Before the surgery the doctor will perform a complete medical health check-up. If the patient smokes they must stop. The patient must avoid food prior to the surgery. Their doctor will provide them with specific guidelines about preparing the stomach and colon for surgery. Many patients will need to take a laxative to prepare for surgery. Some patients will need to undergo radiographic testing.
The doctor may ask the patient to lose a certain number of pounds before surgery. The doctor will also work to get any high blood pressure or other problems well-controlled before undergoing surgery. This will improve the odds of survival and a decent recovery.
After The Operation
After surgery most patients will remain in the hospital for up to 6 days, although patients that have the procedure performed by laparoscope may only need to stay in the hospital for 3 days. The healthcare team will work on helping the patient get moving soon after surgery to avoid blood clots. Most patients can return to normal activity within 5 weeks of having surgery.
Many patients will begin an exercise program which they should continue with.
Many complications can arise from surgery including death, so it is important you weigh the pros and cons of surgery before having surgery. Some patients experience what is known as “dumping” syndrome. This happens when food moves quickly through the intestines and stomach. This results in symptoms including diarrhea, sweating, faintness and weakness after surgery. Often eating foots that are too high in sweets cause these symptoms. Some patients will have to lie down because their symptoms are too severe to manage.
It is important you eat several small and healthy meals during the day. Avoid gas producing foods initially during the healing stage. Then introduce them gradually in your diet to promote consistent bowel movements.
Other risks include infection, leaking fluids from the stomach into the abdominal cavity or intestine, blood clots and the possibility of developing gallstones or anemia following surgery. Some patients do experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies following surgery because they are not able to consume enough foods or do not consume enough nutrients.
Gastric bypass surgery can be very helpful for gaining and maintaining a healthy weight, but it is not for everyone. There are limits or criteria that must be met to qualify for gastric bypass surgery. Patients must be obese and must have been obese for at least 5 years, and must not be addicted to alcohol if they want to have surgery. They must not have depression that is not treated or any other major mental illness that is not properly treated and controlled. This is because having surgery has many significant impacts on the psyche and it is important patients are in good mental health prior to agreeing to and recovering from surgery.
Patients must also agree to stop smoking to reduce the risk of infection, and ideally should be between 18 and 65 years old.
Once completed, most people are generally very happy with their gastric bypass surgery. Many will lose weight fast, with patients reporting losing their ideal weight within 12 months of having surgery. Some patients will regain weight lost however if they do not adopt new healthy lifestyle habits. A gastric bypass is not a mental health cure all. It is important patients address the underlying issues that caused obesity or overweight to begin with.
Ask your doctor if you should take a multivitamin to replace lost nutrients your body needs to remain healthy and stable.
Estimated Costs for Gastric Bypass Surgery
The costs of surgery vary from person to person and may depend on the type of gastric bypass surgery you have. The laparoscopic procedure may cost a little more than the traditional open surgery.