Gastric Bypass Surgery

   

Gastric bypass is surgery that helps you lose weight by changing how your stomach and small intestine handle the food you eat.

After the surgery, your stomach will be smaller. You will feel full with less food.

The food you eat will no longer go into some parts of your stomach and small intestine that absorb food. Because of this, your body will not get all of the calories from the food you eat.

Description

You will have general anesthesia before this surgery. You will be asleep and pain-free.

There are two steps during gastric bypass surgery:

  • The first step makes your stomach smaller. Your surgeon will use staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 1 ounce of food. Because of this you will eat less and lose weight.
  • The second step is the bypass. Your surgeon will connect a small part of your small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening and into your small intestine. As a result, your body will absorb fewer calories.

Gastric bypass can be done in two ways. With open surgery, your surgeon will make a large surgical cut to open up your belly. Your surgeon will do the bypass by working on your stomach and small intestine.

Another way to do this surgery is to use a tiny camera, called a laparoscope. This camera is placed in your belly. The surgery is called laparoscopy.

In this surgery:

  • First, your surgeon will make 4 to 6 small cuts in your belly.
  • Then your surgeon will pass the laparoscope through one of these cuts. It will be connected to a video monitor in the operating room. Your surgeon will look at the monitor to see inside your belly.
  • Your surgeon will use thin surgical instruments to do your bypass. These instruments will be inserted through the other cuts.

The gastric bypass is the same whether you have open or laparoscopic surgery.

Advantages of laparoscopy over open surgery include:

  • Shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery
  • Less pain
  • Smaller scars and a lower risk of getting a hernia or infection

This surgery takes about 2 to 4 hours.