Gastric Bypass Surgery - Obesity Surgery Guide

What is gastric bypass surgery?

This procedure falls into the ‘Restrictive/Malabsorptive’ category. 

Gastric bypass is another equally effective means of treating excess weight gain.  If you have tried to lose weight by dieting, exercise or anti-obesity medication and have found that these have failed then this type of weight loss surgery may just be the answer.

It may sound like a drastic step to take but gastric bypass surgery can improve your quality of life.  It will ensure that the excess weight is lost which will lead to an improvement in your appearance and your confidence in general.  Rather than feeling isolated from other people this surgery will enable you to be an active member of our society. 

This can happen but it will require you to make some permanent changes to your lifestyle.  This includes a regular diet and exercise regime plus you will have to take daily nutritional supplements.  For you to get the very best results from this surgery this complete package will have to be followed for the rest of your life.

It is a technically demanding form of surgery that requires experienced surgeons to carry it out.  It can take from one hour up to four hours and will require you to spend up to seven days in hospital (although this can be as little as a day).

As it is a complex procedure it is often performed as ‘open surgery’: this means that your surgeon will make a long incision to open up the abdomen rather than the less invasive ‘keyhole surgery’.

He/she may opt for the keyhole or ‘laparoscopic’ approach’.  This involves a series of small incisions into which slim instruments and a laparoscopic tool such as a camera can be inserted.  This means less scarring and a quicker recovery as well.

However, laparoscopic gastric bypass is still relatively new and as yet its long term efficiency is still unproven.  As a result of this the traditional ‘open’ approach is still preferred.

Whether you opt for open or keyhole surgery your surgeon will still perform a bypass. 

Plus both procedures are malabsorptive so you will need to take a vitamin and mineral supplement on a daily basis.  However, this procedure does not involving removing a section of the stomach so
there is less risk of nutritional deficiencies.     

Is there more than one type of bypass surgery?

In general, there is one type of gastric bypass procedure which is called the ‘Roux-en-Y’ gastric bypass.  This is the one that is most commonly performed and has proven to be a very effective treatment.  There are however, a fair amount of complications associated with this procedure and because of these it may not be suitable for everyone. 

In this situation mini gastric bypass surgery may be a better option.  This is a smaller version of the Roux-en-Y procedure which is less extensive and tends to mean faster recovery for the patient.  This new procedure was devised by a professor of surgery at the University of North Carolina in the US and is seen as a quicker form of the standard approach.  It is becoming increasingly popular and is seen as a viable alternative to the Roux-en-Y procedure.

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