A gastric bypass is one of a few types of bariatric (weight loss) surgeries. All of these surgeries are designed for people who are obese, and have tried and failed to lose weight with regular diet and exercise.
This surgery can help obese individuals avoid major health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. They are able to move around more efficiently, and look better in general.
This surgery is not something to be undertaken lightly. General anesthesia is used, and the surgery can take anywhere from one to four hours. The hospital stay can take one to seven days. Lap band surgery, another weight loss procedure, does not involve a bypass. However, there are two surgeries that have been approved for gastric bypass:
- Biliopancreatic diversion bypass
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which can be either traditionally or by laparoscopy
Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass
This surgery does not remove sections of the stomach, which makes it much simpler than the biliopancreatic diversion bypass. In general, it is also is more common. The traditional version is done with one long incision. It can also be done through laparoscopy, with smaller incisions. The laparoscopic tool is placed inside of the abdomen, which allows the surgeon to see inside of it during the procedure.
The laparoscopic version leaves fewer scars. Patients also recover faster than in the traditional version. Long term risks and benefits, however, have not yet been evaluated.
Biliopancreatic Diversion Bypass
This surgery is done with a long incision like the traditional roux-en-Y gastric bypass. It is also not as common or as simple as the latter.
For this surgery, stomach sections are taken out and the bypass is attached to the distal illium. This type of surgery can subject the patient to nutritional deficiencies, which is why it is not common.
Bypasses Are Created In Both Versions
A pouch is created from the stomach to restrict the amount of food by stapling it off. A Y shaped section of the small intestine is then attached to the pouch so food can detour around the duodenum. The bypass itself goes to the beginning of the jejunum. This helps restrict food and lessen hunger pangs, which helps the patient lose weight in a healthy manner. Weight loss can be seen within a year, and full weight loss can be seen within two years.
Gastric Bypass Recovery and Care
Most people need two to five weeks to fully recover from gastric bypass surgery. You may feel pain or discomfort, but your doctor can give you medication for it. All the techniques leave a permanent scar, but the laparoscopy scars are less noticeable than the others. The scarring can be covered by most clothing.
Care after surgery can include a diet plan, regular exercise, therapy for behavioral modification, and vitamins. You may have the assistance of a dietician and/or a psychologist to help you.