Gastric Bypass

Introduction

A gastric bypass is a type of weight loss surgery that changes the way the stomach and the small intestine handle the food. It works by reducing the size of the stomach, which triggers an early feeling of fullness and thus, the individual consumes a smaller meal. Specific parts of the intestine are also “bypassed” in the surgery, which allows for lesser absorption of calories. A popular bariatric surgery, gastric bypass helps lose 30 to 40 percent of the excess body weight and is considered to be one of the safest weight loss surgical interventions.


When is it performed?

A gastric bypass is performed on people suffering from morbid obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. It is also performed on people whose BMI is between 35 and 40 but suffers from some serious weight-related co-morbidities such as diabetes, sleep apnea, or hypertension. This surgery is only recommended when other weight-loss methods such as diet, exercise, and medications fail to work.


How is it performed?

A gastric bypass is a two-step surgery, performed under the influence of general anaesthesia. It can be an open or a laparoscopic procedure. In the first step, incisions are made into the stomach to divide it into two sections with staples. The upper section is smaller than the lower. In the next step, the smaller section of the stomach is attached to the lower, Y-shaped section of the small intestine. That is, the lower stomach and the upper parts of the small intestine are bypassed. The incision are closed and the patient is sent to the recovery room.


Recovery

The recovery depends on the approach of gastric bypass. In case of an open surgery, it may take 7 to 10 days because the incisions are larger and they take time to heal. In case of a laparoscopic surgery, it takes 2 to 3 days for the patient to recover. The patient is discharged within 2 to 3 days of the surgery but has to follow the precautions advised. Specific instructions are given by the doctor related to diet, lifestyle, exercising, and medications. In case of any discomfort, the doctor should be consulted immediately.