Having a gastric bypass helps limit the number of calories that you ingest. During the surgery, your physician makes a number of small incisions to access your abdominal cavity. A laparoscope or surgical camera is used to guide the small instruments used during the performance of the procedure.
Once the surgeon accesses your stomach, he or she divides it into an upper and lower portion by stapling off a division. The lower portion of the stomach is bypassed, so it will no longer contain or process any food. Instead of the small intestine remaining connected to the lower stomach that is no longer operable, a portion of the intestine is rerouted and connected to the new pouch formed by the upper portion of your stomach.
Like any medical procedure, a gastric bypass has its pros and cons.
Pros of a Gastric Bypass
Some of the benefits of gastric bypass surgery include:
- Loss of Excess Weight — Gastric bypass patients can expect to lose about 60 to 100% percent of their excess weight.
- Fewer Calories Ingested — Because of the smaller size of the new stomach pouch, the gastric bypass restricts the quantity of food that can be consumed in one sitting. Thus, the number of calories that you eat should decrease.
- Feeling of Fullness/Decreased Hunger— Unlike the hunger that you may have experienced during unsuccessful bouts of dieting, with a gastric bypass, you are likely to feel full soon after you start eating and remain full for a prolonged period.
- No Post-Operative Alterations Needed — With a gastric bypass, post-operative adjustments are not necessary.
- Reduction of Systemic Conditions — Systemic conditions that are linked to your excess weight, such as type-2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure will likely improve dramatically after a gastric bypass procedure. In fact, studies indicate that 70 to 90 percent of high blood pressure, 60 to 90 percent of type-2 diabetes, and 76 percent of sleep apnea conditions are resolved after a gastric bypass procedure.
- Long-Term Results — Research shows that a significant amount of the excess weight loss after gastric bypass surgery was not regained by the bypass patients at 14 years post-procedure.
Cons of a Gastric Bypass
A few of the risks associated with a gastric bypass are:
- Nutritional Deficiencies — After gastric bypass surgery, you will likely need to supplement your nutritional intake by taking daily vitamin and mineral supplements. This supplementation will remain in place for the remainder of your life. In addition to the daily dosage of vitamins and minerals, your doctor may prescribe vitamin B12 shots periodically.
- Dumping Syndrome — Dumping syndrome is caused by the release of undigested stomach contents into the small intestine. It often occurs when a gastric bypass patient eats a high concentration of sugar or fats primarily, poor quality food, or consumes too much food at once. Symptoms of dumping include nausea, stomach cramping, diarrhea, and dizziness.
- Infection — There’s a risk of post-operative infection from the surgical procedure.
- Damage to Internal Organs — A small chance of damage to nearby internal organs exists as the gastric bypass surgery is being performed.