Gastric bypass surgery is a type of bariatric procedure that aims to give you more power to lose weight. Patients often turn to gastric bypass (scientifically referred to as Roux-en-Y) after struggling to drop the excess pounds all on their own. These men and women find themselves obese after years of constant struggle against weight gain, and the excess pounds seem to stubbornly cling to the body. No amount of exercise or extreme dieting can cause the weight to come off to any permanent degree. Any pounds that you lose often come rushing back with a vengeance. Such is the life of someone struggling with obesity with no end in sight. But gastric bypass surgery aims to end all the struggle and help you lose weight safely and effectively with long-term success.
Studies now show that gastric bypass can not only help you lose up to 70% of your excess weight or more, but also comorbidities like type 2 diabetes can diminish or disappear completely following this popular weight loss surgery.
Interested in learning more about gastric bypass and how it works? You’ve come to the right place. Sit back and grab a healthy snack. You’re about to learn all you need to know about the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for lifelong weight loss.
What is Gastric Bypass Procedure & How Does it Work?
Gastric bypass surgery came to be after many attempts to help patients lose weight through surgical means. In 1954, A.J. Kremen introduced the world to jejunoileal bypass surgery. The revolutionary bariatric technique sought to restrict the number of calories the patient could absorb through digestion. The patient’s stomach was rerouted to a portion of the intestine. This diversion restricted the number of calories and amount of nutrients the patient could consume, which was intended to result in rapid weight loss.
The problem with the jejunoileal bypass was that patients who underwent this experimental surgery ended up with nutritional deficiencies. The diversion to the intestine ended up being too severe, and the outcomes of the surgery were less than favorable.
Other surgeries have been attempted through the years in the same vein, each concentrating on a combination of food restriction and inhibited bodily absorption. Some of these surgeries are still in use today, such as the Bilio Pancreatic Diversion, duodenal switch, and the gastric bypass.
These procedures don’t just limit absorption. They also utilize techniques that restrict the amount of food patients can comfortably consume. With gastric bypass surgery, the procedure works like this.
The Procedure in Details
First, the bariatric surgeon will make several small incisions (around five in total). These cuts act as entry points for the laparoscopic camera and accompanying tools that the surgeon will use to shrink and reroute the stomach.
The procedure is permanent and cannot be reversed. Once the incisions have been made around your abdomen, around three-quarters of your stomach will be removed before the remaining tissue is converted into a banana-sized pouch. This smaller, usable stomach is where food will traverse on its way through your digestive tract. Your surgeon will then create a “bypass” of your digestive system by rerouting the stomach pouch to your small intestine.
Since patients are forced to eat less as a product of gastric bypass surgery, doctors determined they could reroute the stomach to the small intestine, thus reducing the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
There is a third mechanism at work with a gastric bypass that many don’t know about. As a byproduct of shrinking the stomach, your hunger and fullness hormones also become affected. Not only it forces you to eat less food, but you feel less hungry overall. You are also bound to feel fuller faster during meals. With your newly bypassed digestive system, the limited nutritional absorption ramps up your weight loss, helping you achieve a healthier, slimmer body in record time.
The first gastric bypass surgery happened in 1967 at the University of Iowa. Today, bariatric surgery is the gold standard of weight loss procedures.
The procedure has been performed hundreds of thousands of times all over the world and is often covered by insurance. Since the surgery is performed laparoscopically as opposed to a more “open” surgery, downtime is decreased with minimal scarring. But those are the only reasons to get the surgery.
What are the Benefits?
The most apparent benefit of gastric bypass is weight loss. Patients who undergo laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery end up losing up to 70% of their excess weight on average. One study showed a loss of 77.5% of excess weight 18 months following surgery.
However, weight loss is not the only upside to getting this life-changing bariatric surgery. Gastric bypass patients tend to suffer from fewer weight-related ailments. The act of losing weight also tends to make conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, knee problems (osteoarthritis) go away completely. To put it succinctly, gastric bypass could make you healthier and potentially extend your lifespan.
Who is a Good Candidate for Gastric Bypass Procedure?
Gastric bypass is reserved for patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 40. This indicates that the patient is more than 100 pounds overweight. They may greenlight you for surgery with a slightly lower BMI (35) but only if comorbidities are present, such as type 2 diabetes. Other comorbidities that could also make you eligible for gastric bypass include osteoarthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and heart disease.
In addition to the physical requirements, you should be ready to relay to your surgeon your inability to drop the excess pounds through traditional weight loss means. Doctors are more likely to recommend surgery like the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) if you’ve struggled with obesity for many years. Therefore, many insurance companies will even request documentation from gyms and dietary programs to prove your unsuccessful weight loss attempts.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, you have a gastric bypass surgeon nearby. Dr. Babak Moein has performed dozens of these bariatric procedures all over the world. He’s now ready to treat you with the revolutionary procedure known as the Roux-en-Y.