Gastric Bypass Surgery is a weight loss surgery that changes the way a person’s stomach digests their food and how it passes it on to their small intestines. Gastric Bypass surgery is the type of weight loss surgery most commonly performed for people who need to lose weight for health reasons and to improve quality of life. According to Clinicaltrials.gov, run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, for morbidly obese people, there is no treatment more effective than bariatric surgery, of which Gastric Bypass Surgery is one type.
According to the Mayo Clinic, though many gastric bypass surgeries involve making one or multiple incisions in the patient’s abdomen, these days it is more common for the surgery to be done laparoscopically. This involves inserting a small camera into the abdomen. The camera helps the surgeon perform the procedure and to view the abdomen’s insides in a non-invasive way. This type of surgery lasts several hours, but is easier for many patients to recover from quickly.
The non-laparoscopy version of gastric bypass surgery, according to Medline Plus, involves dividing the patient’s stomach into a large section and a small section. The section on the top is called the pouch and is where food goes when someone eats. This pouch is roughly the size of a walnut and holds approximately one ounce of food. The bypass itself is then performed by connecting a small section of the patient’s smaller intestine to the small hole found in the pouch in their stomach. This causes the patient’s body to absorb fewer calories than they ever used to.
After gastric bypass surgery has been performed, the patient generally has to stay in the hospital for anywhere from three to five days, according to Medline Plus. In general, patients are not able to eat anything for one to three days after their surgery. They can then move on to drinking liquids and eating foods that have been pureed or are soft to begin with. Some patients have a catheter installed between their nose and stomach. After one or two days the tube will have drained all the fluids out of their stomach. Some patients also have to have a catheter in their bladder so the urine can be removed from it. By the time most patients are released from the hospital they can keep down solid foods and can physically move without being in pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are both short term and long term effects of undergoing gastric bypass surgery. The surgery can cause infections, blood clots, excessive bleeding, breathing and lung problems as well as gastrointestinal leaks. Some of the long term risks associated with gastric bypass surgery include hernias, ulcers, gallstones, low blood sugar, vomiting, bowel obstruction, osteoporosis, and dumping syndrome, which causes vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. The type of long term risks a person may suffer depends on the type of gastric bypass surgery they underwent.
One risk that stems from gastric bypass surgery is that the opening that lies between a person’s intestines and their stomach becomes narrower than it previously was. Patients also run the risk of suffering from psychological problems as well as secondary addictions to shopping, alcohol or drugs. Follow up care after the surgery can help to minimize the likelihood of these risks ever occurring.