What gastric bypass surgery is

There are many way to lose weight from following strict diets and reducing food intake to exercising and undergoing different types of surgery. One of these methods is to undergo a gastric bypass surgery. This operation involves making the stomach smaller so the patient will eat less because the tiny pouch can only hold a cup of food. Learn about the procedure and decide if it is a viable weight loss alternative for you.

What it entails

There are two phases involved in a gastric bypass surgery:

  • - Phase 1 – Making a small stomach pouch

Essentially, the stomach is divided into two: a small and a large part. The small part is sewn or stapled in order to make a small pouch. Since the small stomach pouch can only hold a tiny amount of food, people feel full very quickly contributing to weight loss.

  • - Phase 2 - Bypass

The surgeon will connect the new stomach pouch to another portion of the intestine further down called 'jejunum' disconnecting it from where it originally was (duodenum of small intestine).

  • - How it is done

Gastric bypass surgery is done in two ways: laparoscopy where tools are inserted in the small incision on the stomach; and laparotomy where the belly is opened making a large incision.

  • - Side Effects

Like any other surgery, there are possible side effects when performing this operation. As statistics, roughly 10% of patients suffer from complications such as: bleeding, ulcers, infections from wounds and digestive issues.

Complications which can be life-threatening can also occur such as cardiac arrest, blood clot, infection or bleeding. In other cases, there might be also leaks which can occur on areas where the reconnections were made.

  • - What happens after surgery

Typically, patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 days while normal activity is expected to resume from 2 to 3 weeks.

Is it effective?

The effect on weight loss of gastric bypass surgery is incredible with patients losing on average 60% of their pre-surgery weight. However, bear in mind that complications (as mentioned before) can occur even if statistics show that hospitals or medical centres which perform more than 100 surgeries a year have fewer complications. Also, an extremely experienced surgeon is important if less complications and high survival rates are to occur.

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