What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
The gastric bypass has been seen as the gold standard of bariatric surgery for more than 30 years. The surgery is very safe: it’s no more risky than any minor out-patient surgery like gallbladder surgery.
The gastric bypass isn’t a magical cure, and after surgery you’ll need to commit to a healthy diet and exercise regime in order to maximize your weight loss. But combined with diet and exercise, gastric bypass surgery can help you lose 100-200 pounds or even more*. Imagine how that would feel.
How is a Gastric Bypass Done?
The gastric bypass is a combination procedure using both restrictive and malabsorptive elements.
Restrictive: A bypass works to limit how much food you can consume before feeling full. This is accomplished by taking your current 20-30 ounce stomach and stapling off a smaller one ounce thumb-sized stomach pouch. By creating this smaller pouch, your body will feel full after eating a smaller portion of food. Right after surgery you will only require a small, one ounce (1/4 cup) meal to fill your stomach, which then sends chemical signals to your brain telling it that you are full. Consistently eating very small amounts of food helps you to lose weight*.
Malabsorptive: “Bypass” also means that we are bypassing some of your stomach and small intestine. One part of your intestine will still allow for digestive juices to help break down your food. The other segment of intestine connected to your pouch will transport food but will not initially have the digestive enzymes needed to break it down. Downstream the two channels will be connected, which allows for mixture of food and digestive juices to allow for digestion over the last 2/3rd of your small intestines. This means that fewer calories will be absorbed, resulting in more weight loss and an additional barrier to future weight regain*.
What Should I Expect From Gastric Bypass Surgery?
The gastric bypass is a very powerful tool to help you reach your weight loss goals, but it is not a magical cure. Most patients lose 65-90% of their unhealthy body weight over about a year*. The gastric bypass also does an excellent job of resolving obesity-related health problems for many patients such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and acid reflux*.
When patients do not commit to utilizing all of the other tools that we recommend (such as eating a healthy diet and committing to regular exercise), weight loss may be slower and weight regain is also a possibility.
In addition to less calorie absorption, there is also less nutrient absorption. The area of the small intestine that is bypassed is where a majority of your calcium, folic acid, iron, and B vitamins are absorbed from your diet. To prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies you will be placed on a very specific vitamin regimen after surgery that will need to be maintained for life to avoid serious health consequences*. This is why follow-up visits, labs and nutritional guidance are so vital after surgery!
What is Bypass Surgery Like?
Surgery takes roughly one and a half hours. This will vary based on your past surgical history and anatomy. The typical hospital stay is two nights. This procedure is almost always done laparoscopically, meaning that it’s performed through 5 small incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, generally results in less hospital time, faster recovery, less pain, and smaller scars than open surgical procedures.
How Much Pain Will I Have After Surgery?
All surgical procedures can be associated with pain. However, at the BMCC we utilize a variety of strategies to minimize pain and in some cases take it away completely. One new technique that we have pioneered for bariatric patients is the use of a TAP block. The TAP block uses a long-acting anesthetic that dramatically reduces post-operative pain and the need for pain medication*. It’s so effective that some patients never need any additional pain medication.
Is the Gastric Bypass Right For Me?
After surgery it is vital to follow up with our office. You will be asked to return for a post-operative visit with the surgeon two weeks after surgery, and then a visit with the team at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, one year, and annually after that. Patients who follow up regularly often do the best at losing weight and keeping it off.
What Kind of Bariatric Surgery Should I Consider?
You may be a good gastric bypass surgery candidate if you:
- Are interested in losing 65-90% of your excess body weight*
- Have type II diabetes or reflux and want to resolve these conditions*
- Can be very consistent taking vitamins, minerals and protein daily for the rest of your life
You may not be an ideal bypass candidate if you:
- Have current vitamin or mineral deficiencies (including anemia)
- Suffer from Crohn’s disease, a medical condition requiring prednisone or anti-inflammatory medications, or have had many previous abdominal operations
What Our Patients Say
“I couldn’t imagine a better experience anywhere else and hope that other people get to experience the amazing and life changing journey with the staff at BMCC. I feel like we are all one big family and will stay that way for a very long time. It’s inspiring to be able to work with a doctor that is passionate about what he does and actually treats you as a person whose life and quality of life matters and not just a patient on his schedule.”—Rochelle Goforth
If you or a loved one have further questions or would like more information about bariatric surgery or other surgical or non-surgical weight loss, please click the button below and schedule an appointment with our friendly staff.