Gastric bypass (also known as a Roux-en-Y) is a type of bariatric surgery, or surgery intended to help people lose weight. Bariatric surgery may be considered as a treatment for people with a body mass index (BMI) above 35. Some surgeons will consider candidates with lower BMIs if they face serious medical complications.
What does it involve?
The goal of bariatric surgery is to shrink the stomach and limit the number of calories you can absorb. In gastric bypass surgery, the small intestine is also rerouted to limit the amount of time food spends in the digestive system.
You will be under general anesthetic for gastric bypass surgery. For gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon may use a traditional wide incision (laparotomy) or make several small, minimally invasive incisions (laparoscopy) to open your abdomen. First, using staples, the surgeon will remove a portion of your stomach, making it significantly smaller. Next, the surgeon will divide the small intestine and connect the lower end to the new, smaller stomach. Gastric bypass surgery is not reversible.
After gastric bypass surgery, you can expect to stay in the hospital for one or two days. It will take about two weeks to recover from the surgery at home before you can return to work and regular activities.
Bariatric surgery has been proven effective for weight loss and improved blood glucose control.
Any surgery carries risks including blood clots, blood loss, infection, breathing problems, reactions to medication, and heart attack or stroke during the surgery.
Some bariatric procedures can result in malabsorption of nutrients and nutritional deficiencies. Malabsorption can also result in gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
After bariatric surgery, there is a risk for complications such as reflux, incisional hernias, leaks, and bowel obstructions.
You will need to change your lifestyle significantly after bariatric surgery. You will need to change what and how much you eat and be sure to get enough exercise. You may need to take nutritional supplements to remain healthy. If you were diabetic, you will still need to check your blood glucose levels regularly. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) can return after bariatric surgery.
If you lose a lot of weight quickly after bariatric surgery, you may develop significant amounts of loose skin. Some people feel embarrassed about the way the loose skin looks, and some choose to have plastic surgery to remove it.
Depending on your diagnosis and what type of healthcare insurance plan you have, your plan may not cover all or any of the costs of bariatric surgery.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Bariatric Surgery Procedures - American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes Reversal: The Risks – American Diabetes Association
Recovery From Bariatric Surgery - University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY