Gastric Bypass Surgery: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

For people that are severely overweight losing weight is sometimes an impossibility. After countless diet and exercise programs there is a point that the overweight person may feel that losing weight is hopeless. Many feel so desperate that they seek outside help and contemplate undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

Although it may seem like a rather drastic step to take, gastric bypass surgery could save the life of a severely overweight person. With excessive weight comes numerous medical problems, some that are life altering or that may be fatal. Some of these medical issues, such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus and/or pulmonary disorders, can make a devastating negative impact on the quality of their lives. These medical problems may even rob them of their lives. Gastric bypass surgery gives them a chance to look into the future with hope.

What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery or bariatric surgery, as it is also known as, is a surgical procedure performed to your digestive system in order to limit a person’s intake of food. During gastric bypass surgery a small pouch is created, which allows this food limitation to take place. A portion of the person’s stomach is either stapled or banded to create the pouch. The surgeon then takes a portion of the small intestine and connects it to the pouch, which carries the ingested food past the duodenum and the beginning portion of the jejunum. This procedure will reduce not only caloric intake, but it will reduce the nutrients that your body is able to absorb. A second and less common type of gastric bypass surgery, known as a biliopancreatic diversion, involves removing part of the stomach. This type of surgery is much more complicated and performed less often.

What Are the Risks Involved In Gastric Bypass Surgery?

As with any type of surgical procedure this type of surgery is not without risks. The surgical risks are typical of most surgical procedures. There is the chance of:

  • infection
  • excessive blood loss
  • blood clots
  • pulmonary issues,
  • gastrointestinal leakage
  • difficulties with anesthesia
  • death, although uncommon

The future medical issues after having gastric bypass surgery can be:

  • malnourishment
  • vomiting
  • Stomach ulcers
  • hernia
  • stomach perforation
  • diarrhea with nausea
  • bowel obstruction
  • decreased blood sugar
  • gallstones
  • death, although uncommon

What is the Cost Of Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is quite expensive. Some medical insurances may pay for the surgical procedure depending on the medical necessity of it as determined by your physician. The average cost of the surgery is between $18,000 and $35,000. Geographic location also plays a part in the cost.

How Do I Prepare For Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Getting prepared to have gastric bypass surgery will involve laboratory testing prior to the surgical date. You will also be thoroughly examined to insure that you are healthy enough to have the surgery. You will be given detailed instructions on what medications you are allowed to take, as well as what you are allowed to eat or drink prior to the surgery. You should stop smoking and alcohol consumption well in advance of the surgery. You will need to make arrangements for your care, as well as the care of your household and/or family members. Getting your house in order and well-stocked on food and other household supplies will decrease your stress level while you are recovering.

What Should I Expect After the Surgery?

Surgical techniques, as well as individual situations can vary. There will be a surgical incision of varying length. If the procedure was performed using a laparoscope then only minor incisions will be made. The surgeon will perform what he feels is the best type of surgery for your individualized needs and health. Gastric bypass surgery can take many hours to complete. After the surgery you will be taken to the recovery room where medical professionals will keep a close watch on you to insure that your health condition remains stable. When they feel that you are completely stable and without initial complications you will be taken to a hospital room. Hospital stay durations for a gastric bypass surgery are typically three to five days in length.

What Should I Expect While I Am Recovering At Home?

As with most types of surgery you will have some pain. As every individual and case is unique, this will vary. Your surgeon will likely give you a prescription for pain medication, should you need it. Your digestive system will need to rest and heal, so eating for a couple of days is out of the question.

What Types Of Changes Will Take Place After I Have Recovered?

Your physician will give you a strict diet to follow. You should adhere to the diet closely. It will involve liquids only at first, followed by soft foods and then eventually regular food according to your doctor’s instruction. Following these instructions are extremely important for your health. You will also have medical check-ups to insure that you remain healthy. Your body will be undergoing rapid weight loss, so you may notice aches, chills, fatigue and other symptoms that are associated with weight loss at an accelerated rate.


Further Reading and Information On Gastric Bypass Surgery: