Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery achieves weight loss by combining a reduction in stomach size with a reduction in the length of the small intestine used for absorption of food and calories. The combination of eating less food and lower absorption of calories leads to weight loss.
The most common bypass surgery is the Roux-en-Y procedure, which has been performed since the 1960’s. As a result, there are many studies attesting to its success rate. In this procedure, the stomach is reduced in size to a small pouch with staples and then joined to the middle of the small intestine (jejunum) with a “Y” type connection of the intestines.
Indications for Weight Loss Surgery
Indications for surgery include would include a Body Mass Index in the morbidly obese category and a strong desire to loss weight and accept diet changes after surgery.
Benefits of Gastric Bypass
Results are impressive. Most people lose weight immediately and continue to do so for up to a year. While there is weight gain in some people over time, most people will lose 60% of their excessive weight over one to four years. Results from laparoscopic surgery studies similarly show 69% to 82% loss of excess weight over 1 to 4 years. Even 15 years after surgery, 50% to 60% of people maintain their weight loss. In addition, there is resolution of obesity-related conditions, including diabetes (90% reduction), high blood pressure and cholesterol (80%), 85% reduction of sleep apnea symptoms.
Risks of Gastric Bypass
There are risks associated with surgery. The most serious risks include wound infection, peritonitis (where connections in the bowel leak, causing abdominal infection), pulmonary emboli (where blood clots break off and lodge in the blood vessels of the lungs) or even rarely death. Additionally, a small percentage of patients may develop ulcers and hernias. Approximately a third of patients may develop gallstones over time, and nutritional deficiencies are common, possibly leading to osteoporosis and anemia. These latter deficiencies can easily be overcome by taking dietary supplements, particularly calcium and vitamin B12 post-operatively.
Dumping Syndrome After Gastric Bypass
The dumping syndrome can commonly develop, typically after taking in foods high in sugar calories. Patients can develop nausea, diarrhea, flushing and abdominal pain. The symptoms are so bad that physicians see this as an advantage to bypass surgery, since the patient quickly learns to avoid sugars high in sugar, leading to less caloric intake
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at the Texas Center for Obesity Surgery in Plano, please complete an online appointment request or call our office at 214-501-1333.