Because bariatric surgery is a lifestyle decision, it requires great consideration and a commitment to change. It is important to fully understand the surgery, the benefits, risks, complications and what to expect following surgery. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Gastric Bypass surgery.

What is Gastric Bypass surgery?

This type of weight loss surgery alters the digestion process by restricting or limiting the amount of food the stomach can take in, limit absorption of foods or a combination of the two. According to WEB MD, typically the stomach is divided into a smaller portion and stapled to create a small pouch. From there, the new pouch is disconnected from a part of the intestine and then reconnected to a portion of the intestine further down. This will allow food to pass directly from the stomach into the lower part of the intestine, which promotes weight loss.

What are some advantages of having Gastric Bypass versus other surgical procedures?

Not only does it cause extreme weight loss, but also has been proven to improvement obesity-related medical conditions such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, arthritis and Type II Diabetes, Web MD reports.

Is the surgery reversible?

It is considered a permanent solution, but can be reversible because of medical problems such as blockage or leakage.

Who is a good candidate for Gastric Bypass?

The University of Chicago Medicine reports that a patient with proven failed attempts at losing weight and with a BMI of over 40 or between 35 to 40 for those with medical problems related to obesity are the best candidates. Typically this is someone who is at least 100 pounds overweight. Other tests will be done before surgery to determine the safety of the procedure.

Who is Gastric Bypass not recommended for?

NPR reports that gastric bypass is not recommended for those over 55 years old and has medical conditions such as Type II Diabetes or Hypertension.

What are some risks and complications associated with this surgery?

According to University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical, some risks of bariatric surgery include port or wound infection, nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, incisional hernia, acute stoma obstruction or intestinal leak.

Mayo Clinic reports that excessive bleeding, lung problems, bowel obstruction, dumping syndrome, gallstones, low blood sugar, stomach perforation, ulcers, vomiting and malnutrition may also occur, but are rare occurrences.

Is Gastric Bypass surgery expensive and will insurance cover it?

University of Michigan Health reports that typically insurance companies do determine that weight loss surgery especially gastric bypass is a benefit for those who are obesity and/or have obesity-related medical conditions.

What tests are done before surgery begins?

According to the University of California-San Francisco, there are a variety of tests that may occur before Gastric bypass surgery. They include an abdominal ultrasound, blood studies including blood urea nitrogen, cortisol, creatinine, complete blood count, electrolyters, prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone. A colonoscopy, chest x-ray, cardiac catherization, echocardiogram, EKG, mammogram, pap smear, pelvic ultrasound, pulmonary functions tests, sleep study and stress tests are all normal mandatory tests. A patient must be cleared by a psychiatrist, cardiologist, pulmonologist and dietician to have surgery.

How much weight can I plan to lose?

According to Banner Health, patients can expect to lose from 50-80% of their excess weight. This is a patient’s current weight minus their ideal body weight. This occurs with a proper diet and regular exercise.
Typically gastric bypass patients lose the most weight (up to 77%) within one to two years after surgery and they maintain the most weight loss over a longer period of time afterward.

What kind of follow-up can I expect with Gastric Sleeve surgery?

Patients typically follow up a few days after being discharged from the hospital. Then a monthly appointment will be recommended for the first year, this depends on the patient’s health.

What will my diet be like after surgery?

Web MD reports the gastric bypass diet has having four different phases. The first, liquids, will occur for eat least the first few days following surgery. Once a patient can handle liquid foods for a couple days, pureed foods will be introduced for two to four weeks. After the doctor determines the body is handling the pureed food properly, soft, solid foods will be introduced. These are usually eaten for about eight weeks. After that two-month period, solid foods are introduced slowly into the diet. Always avoid nuts, seeds, dried fruits, popcorn, carbonated beverages, granola, stringy vegetables, breads and tough meats (with gristle).

How long will I be in the hospital and when can I go home?

The National Institutes of Health reports that most patients are in the hospital for three to five days following surgery. Patients are asked to walk daily. They may have a catheter from the nose to the stomach for the first few days following surgery, which helps to drain any fluids from the stomach. Many will not be able to eat for a few days after surgery, but liquids or pureed food is permitted. Patients typically will wear support hose that will help prevent any blood clots from forming in the legs. Other medication also will be provided to help prevent this too. A patient will be able to go home when they can eat liquid food without throwing up, can move around with a ton of pain and do not need pain medicine by IV any further.

What is Dumping Syndrome?

After gastric bypass surgery, the body may be less tolerant to refined sugar or high-fat foods. If these foods are eaten then the pancreas will signal the body to secrete insulin, which causes fluids to be drawn into the intestine. This will call a dumping syndrome with symptoms of dizziness, tiredness, cramps, diarrhea, sweating and nausea. Typically these symptoms only last from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what was eaten.

Will I need to take more vitamins after surgery?

Gastric Bypass patients are requested to take a calcium supplement with Vitamin D, a multivitamin, an iron pill and Vitamin B12 (whether orally or by injection), Banner Health reports.

Will I need plastic surgery following my weight loss surgery?

Some choose to have plastic surgery following extreme weight loss, but it is recommended that a patient maintain their weight for at least 18 months prior to going under the knife. Body lift, arm lift and body contouring are all common procedures where excess fat and skin are removed from the body.

When can I take a shower or bath?

You may not soak in water until all incisions are all healed. You may shower, but must dry all wounds thoroughly afterwards.

When can I drive after surgery?

You may drive after you no longer require the use of pain medication.

When can I go back to work?

Gastric bypass surgery patients typically return to work after two to four weeks, depending on their healing and adjustment to their new diet.

Can I take my regular medicine before and after surgery?

Your doctor will determine the safety of taking certain medications after surgery. You may also have to take it in liquid form for the first few days after your procedure.


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