Gastric Bypass Surgery: How Does It Work?

Gastric bypass is a surgical procedure that helps people lose weight by changing the way their stomach and small intestine handle the food they eat. It can be performed in two ways: open surgery, where the surgeon makes a large incision to open the abdomen, or laparoscopic surgery, which is less invasive. This universal body surgery is usually not reversible and works by decreasing the amount of food you can eat at one time and reducing the absorption of fat and calories. We perform the Roux-en-Y technique for laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, which means a shorter hospital stay, recovery time and less pain and scarring for you. In gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon uses surgical staples to split the stomach and create a small upper pouch the size of a golf ball.

Food enters this small stomach pouch and then goes directly to the small intestine sewn into it, bypassing most of the stomach and the first section of the small intestine. In general, gastric bypass is a safe surgical procedure, with a risk of death of 1 to 2 percent; however, about 20 percent of patients have major or minor postoperative complications. Factors considered when deciding whether to perform open or laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery include body mass index, the person's body shape, and previous surgeries. After gastric bypass surgery, the stomach will feel fuller as quickly as when it was its original size.

In most people who undergo gastric bypass, the diet goes from being liquid to pureeing and then following a regular diet for six weeks. Gastric bypass can also improve your ability to perform routine daily activities, which could help improve your quality of life.

Genevieve Szulimowski
Genevieve Szulimowski

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