Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass) is regarded internationally as the “gold standard” of weight loss surgery designed to reduce your food intake if you have tried and failed to lose weight through diet and exercise. Follow up to 15 years after surgery has shown patients maintain weight loss after gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass can greatly improve the quality of life not only because of an improvement in appearance and an increase in mobility, but also because it can reduce the number and severity of health problems that overweight people are prone to suffer, such as diabetes and heart problems. Gastric Bypass is performed laparoscopically, meaning that the surgeon makes small incisions as opposed to one large incision.
A small stomach pouch is created, restricting the amount of food that can be eaten initially, but long term, the operation also works by switching off the desire to eat. The stomach and about one meter of the small intestine are bypassed. This restricts food intake and stimulates hormones in the gut that suppress hunger and improve diabetes if present.
This type of bypass operation has proven to be an effective, consistent way of losing weight and keeping it off, but to achieve these results it requires lifelong changes to lifestyle and eating.
- Complications due to anesthesia and medications
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart attack
- Leaking of the staple lines as there is always a chance that the staples won’t hold, resulting in a leak. The leaking stomach acids or intestinal secretions frequently lead to infection of surrounding tissues and other serious problems that may require another operation or a drainage tube.
- Gastric or intestinal ulcers, particularly in smokers
- Small risk of intestinal blockage
- Nutritional deficiencies (iron, calcium, vitamin B12 deficiency and others). However, all of these deficiencies mentioned can be managed through proper diet and vitamin supplements.
- A condition known as “dumping syndrome” can occur as the result of rapid emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine. This is sometimes triggered when too much sugar or large amounts of food are consumed. While generally not considered to be a serious risk to your health, the results can be extremely unpleasant and can include nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness and, on occasion, diarrhea after eating. Some patients are unable to eat any form of sweets after surgery.
- The bypassed portion of the stomach, duodenum and segments of the small intestine cannot be easily visualized using X-ray or endoscopy if problems such as ulcers, bleeding or malignancy should occur.
- No need for adjustment.
- No foreign bodies are left in the body during the procedure. With gastric banding, the band may slip, erode or become infected.
- Small stomach pouch and hormonal effect produce strong sensation of fullness with very small meals
- Excellent sustained long-term weight loss in most patients
- “Dumping syndrome” makes it harder to cheat by eating sweets
- Few patients vomit after the Gastric Bypass, while many patients continue to have vomiting episodes long after they have their Lap BAND placed.
- Gold standard for those patients with metabolic syndrome (diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol) as it has a dual mechanism for weight loss (restrictive and malabsorptive).
The operation is quite safe and just an overnight hospital stay. Most people can return to normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks. The expected weight loss from this surgery is on average 70-80% of excess weight. This procedure requires less effort than Adjustable Gastric Banding to be successful. In addition, vomiting is less than with Adjustable Gastric Banding. Patient must be committed to good eating habits and exercise. Gastric Bypass is highly improving the blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure.