What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery is a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure that decreases the size of the stomach and alters the small intestine to help those who are significantly overweight achieve a healthy weight and improved quality of life. If you are significantly overweight and have been unable to manage your weight with diet and exercise, gastric bypass surgery may be right for you.
If you have suffered from obesity and have repeatedly tried to lose weight through diet and exercise, bariatric surgery is a viable tool to help you get your life and health back on track. Gastric bypass is one of the most highly effective weight loss procedures. However, it's not for everyone. To undergo gastric bypass, you must meet specific qualifications to be eligible.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most commonly performed bariatric procedure in the world and is considered the gold standard of weight loss surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon divides the top of the stomach from the lower part to create a small pouch that is about the size of an egg. Decreasing the size of the stomach prevents patients from eating as much as they re used to as the smaller stomach makes patients feel full quickly.
The second element of the surgery involves altering the digestive tract by dividing the small intestine and connecting it to the small stomach pouch. The top end of the divided portion is connected to the small intestine further down so stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and the first portion of the small intestine will eventually mix with the food. Bypassing a portion of the small intestine results in the body absorbing fewer calories. The combination of a small stomach and an altered digestive system allows patients to achieve healthy weight loss and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Candidates for Gastric Bypass Surgery
If being significantly overweight impacts your quality of life and health, gastric bypass surgery may help. Although gastric bypass can help patients achieve their weight loss goals, it is not intended for those wishing to lose a few extra pounds. Ideal candidates for gastric bypass surgery include those who:
- Are more than 100 pounds overweight
Have obesity-related medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, or cardiovascular disease
- Are unable to maintain or achieve a healthy body weight
- Are unable to achieve a healthy body weight through diet, including medically-supervised dieting, or exercise
- Have a body mass index (BMI) over 40, or over 34 with one or more obesity-related health problems
Am I Medically Ready for Weight Loss Surgery?
Qualifying for gastric bypass surgery involves more than having certain medical conditions. Before you undergo any surgery to lose weight, you will meet with a team of bariatric medical professionals who will evaluate your readiness to commit to the procedure and the lifestyle changes required to achieve successful weight loss. Among the professionals bariatric surgery patients may meet with to determine whether they are ready are:
- Primary care doctor
- Exercise physiologist
- Mental health professional
Determining whether you have any mental health conditions is especially important because post-surgical weight loss depends on your ability to make dietary changes and increase exercise levels. Your team should identify psychological or behavioral risk factors and address problems like alcohol, drug, or tobacco addictions that could interfere with a successful outcome.
When your team determines you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, they will assess your medical history to determine whether gastric bypass is the best alternative or another type of metabolic surgery like sleeve gastrectomy.
The Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery can have life-changing results, allowing patients to enjoy improved health, confidence, and mobility while also offering many possible benefits that include:
- Alleviated sleep apnea
- Reduced occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reversal of type 2 diabetes
- Reduced lower back and joint pain
- Improved confidence
- Increased energy
The Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery
All surgical procedures carry risks, so it’s important that you are aware of the potential complications of gastric bypass surgery and speak to your doctor about whether this treatment is right for you. Some potential risks include:
- Pouch stretching: After gastric bypass surgery, the stomach may stretch back to its original size over time if you eat too much food, preventing you from reaching your ideal body weight.
- Stomach stenosis: The area where the stomach and small intestine meet may narrow, resulting in stomach stenosis, causing nausea, vomiting, and an inability to eat.
- Gallstones: Losing weight too quickly can increase the risk of gallstones.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Gastric bypass limits the amount of food you can eat as well as the nutrients your body can absorb, putting you at risk for nutritional deficiencies. To avoid malnutrition, patients should work with a bariatric nutritionist to ensure they get proper nutrients from their diet. You can expect to supplement your diet with multivitamins along with iron and calcium.
- Dumping syndrome: Dumping syndrome occurs when food moves too quickly from the stomach to the small intestine and remains undigested, causing symptoms like sweating, nausea, and fainting.
Find Out if Gastric Bypass Surgery Is Right for You
If you’re tired of being significantly overweight and experiencing multiple health problems, it’s time to improve your quality of life and achieve a healthy BMI through bariatric surgery. .
To find out if you're a good candidate for a gastric bypass procedure, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Tijuana Bariatric Center by calling 800-970-0577.