A gastric bypass surgery means your stomach has to handle less food. And there are two ways to do it with laparoscopy being more popular since it provides more advantages.
What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass is surgery that helps the patient lose weight by changing how the stomach and small intestine handle the food they eat. It is a surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower or "remnant" pouch and then the small intestine is connected to both. The operation is suggested for treatment of morbid obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and other comorbid conditions.
The resulting weight loss which is typically dramatic, markedly reduces comorbidities. The stomach becomes smaller after the surgery, so the patient feels full with less food. The food ingested no longer goes into some parts of the stomach and small intestine that absorb food. Consequently, the body does not get all of the calories from the food the patient eats.
Who needs a Gastric Bypass surgery?
Gastric bypass is indicated for surgical treatment of morbid obesity, for those who have been unable to achieve satisfactory and sustained weight loss by dietary efforts, and those who suffer from comorbid conditions which are either life-threatening or a serious impairment to the quality of life.
What is the procedure of the surgery?
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so it is completely painless.
There are 2 steps during gastric bypass surgery:
- The first step makes your stomach smaller. The surgeon uses staples to divide the stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of the stomach (called the pouch) is where the ingested food will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 28 grams (g) of food. Because of this the patient eats less and loses weight.
- The second step is the bypass. The surgeon connects a small part of the small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in the pouch. The food eaten now travels from the pouch into this new opening and into the small intestine. As a result, the body will absorb fewer calories.
What ways can Gastric Bypass surgery be done in?
Gastric bypass can be done in two ways:
a) With open surgery, the bariatric surgeons makes a large surgical cut to open the patient's belly. The bypass is done by working on the stomach, small intestine, and other organs.
b) Another way to do this surgery is to use a tiny camera attached to a light, called a laparoscope. This camera is placed in the belly and the it allows the surgeon to see inside the patient's abdomen. This procedure, called laparoscopy, requires smaller cuts to be done and is therefore less invasive than a open surgery causing lesser trauma to the body.
Is laparoscopic surgery more beneficial than open surgery?
Advantages of laparoscopy over open surgery include:
- Shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery.
- Less pain.
- Smaller scars and a lower risk of getting a hernia or infection.
- Takes about 2 to 4 hours only.
What is life like after the surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery has an emotional and physiological impact on the individual. Strict limitations on the diet can place great emotional strain on the patient. It may take as long as three months for emotional levels to rebound. Muscular weakness in the months following surgery is caused by a number of factors, including a restriction on protein intake. This is an issue not often mentioned by physicians suggesting the surgery. There is excess skin and fat, hence, often bypass surgery is followed up with "body lifts" of skin. These extra surgeries have their own share of risks. The benefits of this surgery are well established, however, the psychological effects are not well understood.