Gastric Bypass Surgery: How it Works


When diet or exercise is not enough, or you’ve tried countless diets and cannot seem to lose any weight – gastric bypass is an available option to you. It is considered by many to be a life-saving surgery, as those that undertake the surgery are morbidly obese – those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40 and are 300, even 400 pounds overweight. Weighing this much should be frightening scary, as it’s usually not a question if you’ll live past 60, but your next birthday.

Gastric bypass is only one form of bariatric surgery that is available to the morbidy obese. While those with BMIs over 40 are candidates for bariatric surgery, so are those with a BMI of over 35 and have serious illnesses like sleep apnea or severe diabetes.

How it works

The surgery works by first cutting the stomach and creating a very small pouch in its upper section, while creating a larger lower pouch. The small intestine is also cut. The part of the small intestine that is further away is connected to the small stomach pouch. Following the surgery, this pouch holds roughly an ounce of food giving you the feeling of being full after eating a small amount of food. Throughout time, the pouch expands allowing one cup of food.

The purpose of the larger stomach pouch which is deprived of food is sewn to your small intestine and is used by your body to deliver digestive juices and hormones. Since the food you intake bypasses the majority of your stomach, your body absorbs less calories. You also have a decreased appetite and an improved metabolism resulting from the surgery.

Two kinds of surgery: Open vs Laparoscopic

The most common form of gastric bypass surgery is by laparoscope. This procedure consists of making small, numerous incisions (5-6). The less common open version of gastric bypass surgery uses a single, long cut stretching across the stomach to give the operating surgeon access to your entire abdomen.

With laparoscopic surgery, a camera is used to view the abdomen through the incisions. The surgeon uses small instruments which accesses your stomach at numerous access points. The few benefits to laparoscopic surgery over open are the decreased chances of having wound complications (infections), quicker recovery time, and less pain after the surgery.

After the surgery

For the rest of your life, you’ll eat considerably less than you do now. You will not be able to consume a normal diet for weeks or even months after the surgery, but overtime you will be able to make the transition and eat small amounts of almost any kind of foods. As said above, the pouch that holds your food will stretch overtime, so depending on how quickly the pouch stretches will determine how much you will be eating and how quickly.

You will naturally lose weight after the surgery, but combining the surgery with a healthy diet and active lifestyle will ensure that you drastically lose weight and will continue to do so for years to come until you hit your desired goal.

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