Gastric bypass is a surgery that aids in weight loss by altering how both your stomach and small intestine process the food that you eat. After this surgery, your stomach’s size will be smaller and hence you will feel full with lesser food. Weight loss is the ultimate goal of surgery for the treatment of obesity and should be undertaken only when lifestyle modifications do not work in reducing obesity.
How does Gastric Bypass work?
Gastric bypass surgery works on two main principles:
- Restriction: The size of the stomach pouch is decreased, therefore restricting your caloric intake.
- Malabsorption: The bypass is done in the small intestine, thereby causing ineffective absorption and utilization of food calories by the body. Instead the food passes out of the body as stool.
What is the procedure for Gastric Bypass?
The surgical procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia mostly and requires a dedicated change in eating habits after the surgery to achieve the aim of the surgery.
There are 2 steps during gastric bypass surgery:
The first step in the surgery is to make your stomach smaller. Your surgeon with the help of staples divides your stomach into 2 parts, a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top part of your stomach (or the pouch) processes the food that you eat. The stomach pouch can hold only about an ounce or 28 grams of food. Owing to this you will eat less and definitely lose weight.
The second step in the surgery is the bypass. Your surgeon connects the upper stomach pouch to the lower part of your small intestine (the jejunum). The food that you eat now travels from the pouch into this new opening and directly into your small intestine. As a result, your body is unable to absorb and utilize all the food that you eat.
What are the techniques for Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass can be done either by open surgery or by a minimally invasive surgery with a tiny camera, called a laparoscope.
Gastric Bypass Surgery is one of the most common weight loss surgeries or bariatric surgeries. In a Gastric bypass surgery the stomach is made smaller and the food is made to bypass a part of the small intestine. In a gastric bypass surgery a small stomach pouch is created with the help of staples that restricts food intake. In addition to this, the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine are bypassed. As a result the food directly enters middle section of the small intestine. Such an arrangement leads less food intake and the bypassing part of the intestine results in fewer calories being absorbed by the body. This leads to weight loss gradually over a period of time. The manner in which the intestines are reconnected gives rise to several variations of gastric bypass surgery. The most common gastric bypass surgery is a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
A person looking for a Gastric Bypass Surgery should meet certain criteria. A surgery is a last resort when all the conservative methods to lose weight fail. You may be considered for a gastric bypass surgery if you are having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of above 40, no benefit from conservative methods like dietary or weight-loss drug therapy for more than one year, history of obesity generally for 5 years or more, willingness to comply with the substantial lifelong dietary restrictions required for long term success, clear understanding of the procedure, associated risks and benefits and if you have other health problems associated with obesity.
A gastric bypass surgery is not suitable for a person who is expected to have an unreasonable risk, untreated glandular diseases such as hypothyroidism, Inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract such as ulcers, esophagitis or Crohn’s disease, severe cardiopulmonary diseases or other conditions which may make them poor surgical candidates in general, dependency on alcohol or drugs or emotional instability.
Gastric bypass surgery is widely considered to be the gold standard in weight loss surgery procedures and is one of the very effective long term weight-loss surgeries. The benefits of gastric bypass have been proven to outweigh the risks in most of the cases. You can lose up to 80% of your excess weight and can improve or resolve most of the diseases associated with obesity like type-2 Diabetes, high Blood Pressure, high Cholesterol , sleep Apnea, asthma, joint pain, arthritis, reflux, fatigue, shortness of breath and an overall increased sense of well-being. It is also found that there is a significant reduction in risks of heart disease, pulmonary disease and cancers. You can also have an improved quality of life and self-esteem as you start losing weight.
Like any other major surgery, a gastric bypass surgery also has some risks. The risks have decreased considerably with the advancement in research, technology and expertise. Your surgeon will clearly explain you the associated risks before the surgery. Some of the risks associated with a gastric bypass surgery are blood clots, pressure sores , lung problems, anemia, poor nutrition, vomiting due to overeating , leakage through the staples that were used in the surgery, break down of pouch, gastritis, stomach ulcers or heartburn.