Gastric Bypass Surgery FAQs
Gastric bypass surgery called The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is the gold standard of weight loss surgery. Generally, this is minimally invasive surgery using a laparoscope. This procedure physically changes the stomach and small intestines to reduce the size of the stomach and how you absorb food. The surgery creates a small pouch and connects it directly to the small intestines, bypassing most of the stomach and part of the small intestines where nutrients are absorbed. The stomach pouch is smaller which reduces the number of calories that can be consumed and reduces the absorption of calories and nutrients. Rerouting the food changes the gut hormones which suppresses hunger, improves satiety, and improves how the body uses glucose, to improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in people who are obese.
Below are the most frequently asked questions patients ask our board-certified bariatric surgeons at Advanced Surgical & Bariatrics of New Jersey about Gastric Bypass Surgery.
Who is a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery?
Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are major, life-changing procedures. While weight-loss surgery can help reduce your risk of weight-related health problems — such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and sleep apnea — it can also pose major risks and complications. You may need to meet certain medical guidelines to qualify for weight-loss surgery. You likely will have an extensive screening process to see if you qualify.
In general, gastric bypass or another weight-loss surgery could be an option for you if:
- Efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher
- Your BMI is 35 or more and you have a serious weight-related health problem, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea
- You’re a teenager who’s gone through puberty, your BMI is 35 or more, and you have serious obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea
In some cases, you may qualify for certain types of weight-loss surgery if your BMI is 30 to 34 and you have serious weight-related health problems.
How much weight can I expect to lose after gastric bypass surgery?
The amount of weight you will lose depends on a number of factors. These factors include, diet, exercise, lifestyle, and your overall commitment to changing old habits. The size the surgeon makes your stomach and the length of your roux limb can make a small difference in weight loss but most of the time these surgical differences are minor. And today, most surgeons have very similar techniques when they perform gastric bypass surgery further minimizing surgical differences.
But let’s assume that you do everything right after surgery. You’ve changed your diet (gastric bypass forces some dietary changes, this is why gastric bypass creates more weight loss than most other procedures), you’re exercising regularly, and you make an effort to sit less and be active more. How much will you weigh when all is said and done?
What are the advantages of gastric bypass surgery?
Compared to other weight loss surgeries, gastric bypass offers:
- Greater overall weight loss due to the tighter dietary restrictions and less caloric absorption
- Faster initial weight loss
- Your body helps direct healthier food choices because of strong discomfort caused by eating sugars, fats and carbs
- 96% of health problems related to obesity are completely resolved or reversed quickly
What are the disadvantages of gastric bypass surgery?
- Permanent change in your anatomy
- Restricts dietary choice for the rest of your life
- Dumping syndrome from eating foods high in sugar, calories and fat causes discomfort, 20-30 minutes of nausea, and possibly vomiting, diarrhea, and overall weakness each time.
How long do I have to take off work after surgery?
Most gastric bypass surgery is laparoscopic, which means the surgeon makes small cuts. That makes for shorter recovery time. Most people stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days, and get back to normal activities in 3 to 5 weeks.
Will I have to take vitamins after surgery?
Gastric Bypass: Doctors recommend that gastric bypass surgery patients take a complete multivitamin, calcium with Vitamin D, iron and Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Others may be recommended.
Does gastric bypass shorten life span?
For those who are obese, gastric bypass can reduce the risk of death by 40 percent over a seven-year period, according to a 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. They found that people who underwent gastric bypass surgery had a 40 percent reduction in the rate of death compared to their obese counterparts.
Will I feel hungry after gastric bypass surgery?
Managing hunger after weight-loss surgery is one of the most daunting parts of post-bariatric life. In almost every case, except some gastric sleeve post-ops, patients may still feel hungry even if they are full after a meal. This arises because, while the stomach is smaller, the brain may still be used to the patient’s past lifestyle and diet.
This hunger, especially in the first few months after surgery, can make it very difficult to stick to the post bariatric diet and can be a nagging reminder of the lifestyle and diet challenges after weight loss surgery. Stay on track. You can do it.