Individuals who are overweight should seek approval from a surgeon to have gastric bypass surgery. To learn more about the procedure and to find out if you could be a candidate, contact our office today.
How is a Gastric Bypass Performed?
A surgeon can perform this weight loss surgery in several ways in order to reconnect the intestine. First, the surgeon makes a small incision in the abdominal region before reaching inside to work on the stomach. The stomach of a patient is divided to make it smaller with an upper pouch and lower remnant pouch. By stitching the stomach strategically, a patient is unable to consume large quantities of food. The lower portion of the stomach is not removed, but food does not reach this area after the surgical procedure. This form of bariatric surgery is only performed on patients who have one or more of these health conditions:
- Morbid obesity
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Sleep apnea
In many cases, patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery are overweight in combination with another serious medical issue that affects their daily living. The goal of the surgery is to help severely overweight individuals lose weight rapidly in order to increase their life span.
Who is Approved for Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Surgeons must follow certain criteria before performing a gastric bypass procedure on a patient, including:
- Making sure patients have attempted to lose weight with other methods
- The patient is at least 100 pounds overweight
- The patient has a body mass index of 40 or more
- The patient has a body mass index of 35 or more with other conditions that are life threatening, such as high blood pressure or sleep apnea
Before surgery is approved, a patient will meet with a psychologist, nutritionist, and therapist to prepare them for the process, along with understanding how their lives will change after the procedure. Patients must change their dietary habits before this procedure and will need to continue a healthier eating pattern after the surgery. Because an individual’s stomach is much smaller, it is difficult for them to eat large portions of food, leading to weight loss. However, to avoid nutritional deficiencies, the patient must make wise food choices to get enough vitamins and minerals.
Types of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Surgeons typically perform any type of gastric bypass surgery laparoscopically, and during the procedure, the surgeon can insert a video camera with a long tube into the small incisions.
- Endoscopic duodenal-jejunal bypass: This variety of gastric bypass involves implanting a duodenal-jejunal bypass liner device. This liner is located between the middle portion of the jejunum and the duodenum to prevent food from entering the small intestinal tract.
- Mini-Gastric Bypass: This procedure is designed to create a long tube-shaped stomach along a patient’s right side, and the surgeon loops a portion of the intestinal tract to this tube.
- Distal Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: This procedure reduces the size of the patient’s small intestine by moving it to the distal end. This makes it more difficult for the patient’s body to absorb starches and fats.
- Proximal Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: This is the most popular form of gastric bypass surgery, and it involves dividing the small intestine below the stomach outlet before rearranging its configuration. When a patient consumes food, they will feel full after a few bites, leading to drastic weight loss.
What Happens After Gastric Bypass Surgery?
After gastric bypass surgery, the patient will have a stomach that is 90 percent smaller, and it is nearly impossible for the remaining section to stretch. However, the section between the stomach and intestine expands slightly, helping patients to stop losing weight after a certain amount of time. Patients will feel full after eating a small portion of food, and their brain receives a signal to stop consuming more food. Patients who try to keep eating food will feel nauseous. Because the stomach of a patient feels full, an assortment of hormones is released that prevents a sensation of hunger.
Patients are advised to consume five or six small meals each day with no snacking between mealtimes. A high level of protein is necessary, and patients will progress from eating tiny amounts of food to one cup per meal within a year. Patients may need nutritional supplements after their gastric bypass surgery to maintain iron, calcium, and vitamin levels. Patients are advised not to drink alcoholic beverages because of their body’s metabolism changes.
What are the Beneficial Side Effects of Gastric Bypass Surgery?
In addition to weight loss, gastric bypass surgery can have other possible benefits for patients, including:
- Reduction of pain in the knees, hips, and back
- Alleviation of edema in the limbs
- Relief of gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Reversal of type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Improvement in obstructive sleep apnea
- Reduction of high blood pressure in most patients
- Reduction of cholesterol levels
- Improvement of a patient’s daily living
- Increase in projected life span
The exact results that you experience will vary, and can depend on many factors, including how closely you follow your doctor’s instructions after the surgery. Your doctor will give you a better idea of what you can expect to see change after your surgery.
A patient requires several months to recover from surgery due to the emotional, physical, and mental aspects of consuming less food on a daily basis. Patients who have used food for entertaining or comforting must find new ways to fill their time. As patients recover physically, they can begin to exercise to increase their muscle strength and help to tone their muscles in order to look better in their new size. Your doctor will give you instructions about what you can do in order to look and feel your best after your surgery.
To learn more about gastric bypass and other types of weight loss surgery, contact our office today for a consultation. By learning more about your current health and health history, your doctor can recommend what is likely to be the best option for you to achieve weight loss.