What is a Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass? – A Gold Standard in Weight Loss Surgery
The laparoscopic gastric bypass or Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) is a procedure that involves resizing the stomach and rerouting the digestive tract. The procedure works by splitting the stomach into two parts, one being a small pouch used as the ‘new stomach’ while leaving the remaining larger section in place allowing normal flow of digestive enzymes and hormones. The new stomach pouch is then attached to a lower point of the intestinal track starting the digestive process at a much lower point than what it once was.
The Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass (RYGB) works essentially by restricting food intake overall (limiting your ability to consume excess food and reducing intake of calories) while also decreasing the absorption of food by bypassing parts of the digestive system, hence further reducing excess caloric consumption at the digestive processing level.
As this surgery is performed laparoscopically no large cuts or incisions are used, instead several small incisions in the abdomen are made and thin instruments including a camera are used to complete the surgery. By using this method we can reduce post-operative pain and recovery speed significantly, as well as drastically reducing scarring tissue.
Many Surgeons and Bariatric Surgical Groups consider the Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass (RYGB) procedure to be one of the “gold standards” of the currently available weight-loss surgery and is widely endorsed by many medical societies including the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the NIH (National Institutes of Health).
If you have a Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
If you have this procedure, your food intake will be limited by a “small pouch” that is reduced in size by around 80%. The pouch is similar in size to what it is with an adjustable gastric band procedure.
- Your Bariatric Surgeon will the stitch or staple or otherwise secure the top portion of your stomach so that it becomes separated from the bottom part of your stomach.
- This creates a small stomach pouch which, as noted above, restricts your food intake and caloric consumption.
- A section of your small intestine (the jejunum) is surgically attached to the smaller stomach pouch.
- The remaining, larger stomach pouch is kept connected to the non-diverted part of your digestive tract, helping to keep the digestive system processes functional.
- The smaller pouch, however, permits your food to BYPASS your lower stomach (duodenum) – to empty into the small intestine (jejunum) – hence how it came by it’s name as a Gastric Bypass procedure.
The “bypass” feature of this surgery reduces the amount of food, calories and nutrients that your body can absorb.
- This procedure hence creates an intentional mal-absorption process that significantly reduces your excess calorie intake and helps you to lose weight or overcome obesity.
Advantages of Having Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Average weight loss after the Roux-en-Y procedure is generally higher if you rigorously follow guidance from your doctor, physician and dietitian than with other restrictive procedures. weight loss can be as high as 77% of excess body weight.
- Patients portion sizes will be drastically limited allowing a portion size of around 25% of what it once was. Patients will begin to feel fuller much quicker and will find that they get full even just by drinking water and liquids.
- Provides a low complication rate and much faster recovery rate due to the laparoscopic method of the procedure.
- This procedure is reversible if the patients find themselves in medical emergencies as the larger section of the stomach is never removed from the abdomen.
- Health conditions related to obesity such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and blood pressure are improved if not resolved within just the first few months following your surgery.
Risks and Complications of Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
As with any surgical procedure, the Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass has a range of complications and risks involved in the procedure. These include:
- Due to the stapling or stitching of the stomach sections there is always a small chance of staple separation or leakage.
- The chance of developing stomach conditions such as heartburn, ulcers or gastritis are increased. If already present symptoms may develop and worsen.
- A range of post-surgical vitamins may be prescribed by your doctor or physician and may need to be taken for life, if not further long-term vitamin or mineral deficiencies may arise.
- If you find yourself not following advice from your Doctor, physician or Dietitian you may regain weight you have once lost.
Life after your Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
Immediately after your surgery your doctor and dietitian will prescribe you a full clear liquid diet lasting several days before being slowly progressed into liquid and purees or other foods that are easily passed through the stomach. Drinking or sipping water at this time is important as dehydration in patients is common among patients recovering postoperatively.
Progression to solid/soft foods may be introduced into your diet at around the 6-week mark, but only as instructed by your doctor and dietitian, it as at this point that patients are expected to have begun the transition to a more active lifestyle in order to maximize weight loss and reduce the chance of weight regain. Patients will begin to notice that they are already starting to lose excess body weight and are expected to lose around a third of their body weight within the first 3 months after the operation. Around the 6-month mark patients will notice that their weight loss will begin to slow down but are still expected to keep losing weight long after the operation (around 2 years) before body weight begins to stabilize.