Gastric Bypass

The gastric bypass procedure is a type of bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery designed to reduce your food intake if you have tried and failed to lose weight through diet and exercise.

Gastric bypass can greatly improve the quality of life not only because of an improvement in appearance and an increase in mobility, but because it can also reduce the number and severity of health problems that overweight people are prone to suffer, such as diabetes and heart/circulation problems. Increasingly, the surgery is covered by gastric bypass insurance from both public and private insurers.

It is a complex procedure performed under general anesthesia — you sleep through it. Time in surgery is approximately one to four hours, followed by a one- to seven day stay in the hospital. Currently, two techniques are available for gastric bypass:

 •  Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass (traditional and laparoscopic)

 •  Biliopancreatic diversion bypass

Both Techniques Use a Bypass

In both techniques a small stomach pouch is created to curb food intake by stapling a portion of the stomach. Then, a Y-shaped part of the small intestine is attached to the stomach pouch so food can bypass the duodenum, as the bypass extends to the initial portion of the jejunum.

The bypasses of the small intestine are formed to decrease the absorption of food nutrients. These techniques significantly restrict food intake and reduce hunger to promote healthy weight loss.

Most of the weight loss is evident within one year and is usually completed by the end of the second year.

Gastric Bypass lead to weight loss because of several factors:

1. the stomach is reduced to the size of a golf ball

2. an intestinal segment is used as a channel to reconnect to the gastrointestinal system causing some malabsorption

3. the connection between the newly created stomach and the intestines is relatively narrow leading to a prolonged sense of satiety

This procedure has a significant impact on some of the hormones produced in the stomach and small intestines. Theses changes in the hormones often lead to resolution of diabetes.

Gastric Bypass has been performed in the US for approximately 50 years and remains the most popular procedure for weight loss. Patients undergoing this procedure must be committed to long term follow up and life long replacement of vitamins, calcium and iron.