Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Meet Dr. Joshua Long:
Our Bariatric Surgeon

A nationally renowned and double-board-certified Denver bariatric surgeon, Dr. Long uses a partnership care model with each patient to tailor care to their individual needs. Patients routinely thank Dr. Long for his warm, compassionate bedside manner. He’s considered to be at the top of his field, having performed over 1,000 bariatric surgeries. Peers praise his technical skill, and he has some of the lowest complication rates among bariatric surgeons in the nation. Dr. Long and the staff at the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado consider it an honor to serve every patient with the highest quality of care.

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Dr. Joshua Long


Bariatric surgery (or weight loss surgery) can help to level the playing field in your struggle with obesity so you can see the lasting results you’re looking for. If you are overweight or suffer from obesity and have become discouraged by all of the fad diet and exercise programs on the market, it may be time to consider a more permanent solution.

At the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado, our double-board certified bariatric surgeon has helped our patients achieve their weight loss goals and get back to a life of energy and activity. We offer different types of bariatric procedures to accommodate the needs of different patients, and we offer cash pay options if you don’t have medical insurance coverage, or if your current plan doesn’t include weight loss surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight loss procedure that we offer at the BMCC. If you’re trying to learn more about gastric bypass surgery, or you’re considering having weight loss surgery but don’t know which surgery is right for you, here’s everything you need to know about the gastric bypass procedure.

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery and How Does it Work?

The gastric bypass has been seen as the gold standard of bariatric surgery for more than 30 years. The surgery is very safe in the current era: 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 and maintain 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 Gastric Bypass Works

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 small stomach 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 signals to your brain indicating that you are full. Consistently eating very small amounts of food reduces calorie intake and 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 deliver 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*.

How Much Weight Will I Lose with 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*. There are also other positive benefits of gastric bypass as it 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, after surgery there is also less nutrient absorption.  The area of the small intestine that is bypassed is where a majority of patients’ calcium, folic acid, iron, and B vitamins are absorbed from their diet.  To prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies patients are 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!

How Long Does it Take to Recover From Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Surgery takes roughly one and a half hours.  This will vary based on your past surgical history and anatomy. The typical hospital stay is one night. This procedure is almost always done minimally invasively, meaning that it’s performed through 5 very small incisions in the abdomen.  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 technique that we have helped pioneer for bariatric patients is the use of a TAP block. The TAP block uses a long-acting anesthetic placed into the specific nerve layer in the abdominal wall that dramatically reduces post-operative pain and the need for pain medication without a need for pumps or tubes*. It’s so effective that some patients never need any additional pain medication.

Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Safe?

Risks and complications are a reasonable concern for any abdominal surgery. Bariatric surgery has come a long way, and outdated procedures such as LAP-BAND surgery had higher long-term risk with less weight loss success than modern procedures (which is why we do not offer LAP-BAND surgery). Today the risks of bariatric surgery are very low if you receive surgery through a certified ASMBS comprehensive MSAQIP center of excellence such as Parker Adventist Hospital (where our double-board-certified bariatric surgeon performs surgeries).  

At the BMCC, your safety is our main goal which is why we consistently work to keep weight loss surgery risks far below the national average. But, there are potential risks to consider. In terms of the gastric bypass surgery, possible medical problems are:

Our double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and team will work with you to minimize the chance of complications and to relieve any complications that may occur.

While it is important to be aware of potential risks, most of these things don’t ever occur for patients who diligently follow our very careful protocols. Additionally, the medical risks that accompany obesity are a far greater danger to your long-term health and wellbeing.

What Does Follow-Up Post-Procedure Look Like?

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:

You may not be an ideal bypass candidate if you:

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

Gastric bypass before and after--Rochelle Goforth--Before
Gastric bypass before and after--Rochelle Goforth--After

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.

Dr. Joshua Long headshot

This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: March 22nd, 2021

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*Please note that individual results can vary and are not guaranteed.