Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, commonly referred to as RYGB, is a surgical procedure that takes a dual approach to weight loss. The first part of the procedure involves using a series of surgical staples to divide the stomach into two portions, an upper and a lower section. When the patient consumes food, it will enter the top section, which is reduced to a pouch the size of a walnut that will only hold approximately one ounce of food at a time. Next, the bariatric surgeon will connect the small intestine directly to the upper stomach pouch, allowing food to travel directly into the small intestine. This prevents the body from absorbing many of the calories contained in the food.
Patients who could benefit from gastric bypass surgery have often tried many other weight loss options in the past, with little success. The procedure is best suited for patients who are at or near a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, which is considered extreme obesity. Patients with lower BMIs but who have other serious health concerns may also be good candidates for this approach. Patients will be evaluated to make sure that there are not other health issues that could contribute to a poor outcome, such as a blood clotting disorder, heart problems, or liver disease. Finally, factors such as age, psychological health, and the patient’s level of commitment and motivation are taken into consideration before a decision is made.
After a gastric bypass procedure, there is a period of recovery that takes place. Once the patient has been released from the hospital, there are self-care procedures that must be followed at home. These include starting off with a liquid diet, which will slowly progress to soft foods and eventually regular food, although at far smaller portion sizes. There may be a period of transition as the body adjusts, which could include body aches, fatigue, and mood shifts. These issues will improve over time.