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The Benefits and Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Bariatric, or weight loss, includes procedures like gastric bypass surgery. Your surgeon will alter the structure of your stomach and small intestine during gastric bypass surgery to change how food is absorbed and digested.

Gastric bypass promotes weight loss through the following:

  • Limiting the amount of food that can fit in your stomach
  • Restricting the number of calories and nutrients your body absorbs
  • The metabolic syndrome brought on by obesity can be reversed by altering the chemicals in your gut that make you feel fuller for longer.

Just like any other procedure, there is a risk of gastric bypass surgery. Internal bleeding, blood clots, and infection are all potential after-effects of surgery. An anastomosis carries additional danger. Your bypass operation generated a new link between your stomach and intestines; this connection won’t completely heal and will leak. One of the most harmful effects of gastric bypass surgery is the leakage of digestive juices and partially digested food through anastomosis.

Types of Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Each type of bariatric surgery has advantages and disadvantages. Make sure to discuss them with your doctor. Here are some examples of typical bariatric surgery procedures:

Roux-en-Y (roo-en-wy) Gastric Bypass

The majority of gastric bypasses are performed using this technique. Most of the time, this procedure cannot be undone. It limits the quantity of food you can eat in a single sitting and lowers nutritional absorption.

The surgeon cuts along the top of the stomach, separating it from the rest of the stomach. The resulting pouch is roughly the size of a walnut and can only carry a little over an ounce of food. The stomach can typically hold 3 quarts of food.

The surgeon will then remove a portion of the small intestine and attach it directly to the pouch. Food then enters this little stomach pouch and travels straight to the small intestine that is linked to it. Food enters the small intestine directly from the mouth, skipping much of the stomach and the first portion.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

A long, tube-like pouch is left behind after a sleeve gastrectomy, which removes around 80% of the stomach. This stomach is smaller and can’t hold as much food. Additionally, less of the hormone ghrelin, which controls hunger, is produced, which reduces the desire to eat. Significant weight loss and avoiding intestinal rerouting are benefits of this treatment. The hospital stay for sleeve gastrectomy is also shorter than it is for most other surgeries.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

In the first stage of this two-part treatment, a sleeve gastrectomy-like technique is carried out. Bypassing the majority of the intestine, the second procedure (duodenal switch and biliopancreatic diversion) connects the terminal portion of the intestine to the duodenum close to the stomach.

This procedure both restricts how much you can consume and decreases nutrient absorption. Although it is quite successful, it has higher risks, such as malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.

The ideal weight-loss surgery for you will depend on your unique circumstances. Body mass index, eating habits, other health conditions, previous surgeries, and the dangers associated with each procedure are just a few variables that your surgeon will consider.

The Procedure

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General anesthesia is used for bariatric surgery to be performed in a hospital. Thus, it indicates that you were asleep throughout the process.

Your unique circumstances, the type of weight-loss surgery you choose, and the hospital’s or doctor’s policies will all impact the specifics of your procedure. Certain weight-loss procedures include making conventionally extensive incisions in your belly. Open surgery is what is used here.

The majority of bariatric procedures are now carried out laparoscopically. A laparoscope is a little camera-equipped tube-shaped device. Small abdominal incisions are used to insert the laparoscope. The surgeon can see within the abdomen and do operations without using conventionally huge incisions, thanks to the tiny camera on the laparoscope’s tip. Although laparoscopic surgery can shorten and speed up recovery, only some are suitable candidates.

The average surgery lasts several hours. You awaken in a recovery room following surgery, where medical personnel checks for any issues. Depending on your surgery, you might have to stay a couple of days in the hospital.

Benefits

Long-term weight loss is possible with bariatric procedures like gastric bypass. Your surgical procedure and modified living behaviors will affect how much weight you lose. You can eliminate half or perhaps more of your excess weight in two years.

Gastric bypass surgery has the potential to alleviate or treat many conditions that are frequently brought on by obesity, such as:

  • After surgery, individuals frequently experience significant weight loss. The risk of diseases linked to obesity, such as hypertension and heart disease, decreases due to weight loss. Additionally, a gastric bypass operation reduces the risk of death from obesity by around 40%.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus is more likely to develop in people who are obese. This danger is typically depleted with the amount of weight loss that can be accomplished after a gastric bypass procedure.
  • Significantly reduced chance of hyperlipidemia (high triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood).
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Lower back discomfort, knee injury, and joint pain (also called osteoarthritis) brought on by excessive body weight may also improve.
  • There is a lower chance of developing a venous thromboembolic illness.

Your ability to carry out regular daily tasks may also be improved after gastric bypass surgery, which may boost your quality of life.

Risk of Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Bariatric surgery has possible long-term and short-term health risks, much like any effective procedure.

The following are some possible risks of the surgical procedure:

Depending on the type of operation, different long-term risks and consequences can result from weight loss surgery. They may consist of the following:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Dumping syndrome, which leads to diarrhea, flushing, lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Gallstones
  • Hernias
  • Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia
  • Malnutrition
  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux
  • The need for a second revision, surgery, or procedure
  • Rarely, death

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering having gastric bypass surgery to treat your obesity, carefully discuss the process with your doctor. It is important to balance the risk of continuing to be obese with the absolute risk of significant problems. Remember that gastric bypass surgery benefits most from long-term, healthy lifestyle decisions. These include a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Written by Jihn Mill