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Gastric bypass

During the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, your surgeon will create a small stomach pouch – about the size of your thumb – in the upper part of your stomach using staples. Then he will attach the pouch directly to a section of the small intestine. This allows food to bypass the remaining portion of the stomach and part of the small intestine.

How gastric bypass assists with weight loss

By creating a smaller stomach pouch, a gastric bypass limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time so you feel full sooner and stay full longer. Additionally, bypassing a portion of the small intestine results in your body to absorb fewer calories. As you consume less food and absorb fewer calories, your body will start using its fat supply for energy.

How gastric bypass affects digestion

Because it bypasses the small intestine, which is part of the body’s normal digestive process, it moves through the digestive track more quickly and fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed. The rerouting of the food stream also produces changes in gut hormones that promote satiety and suppress hunger.

Advantages

  • Significant weight loss — average 61.6 percent loss of excess weight
  • Helps resolve other health risks  — high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and sleep apnea
  • Produces favorable changes in gut hormones that reduce appetite and enhance satiety
  • Long-term results – maintaining more than 50 percent of weight loss

Disadvantages/risks

  • Non- reversible
  • Generally has a longer hospital stay than the other two bariatric procedures
  • Requires adherence to dietary recommendations, life-long vitamin/mineral supplementation, and follow-up compliance
  • Can lead to long-term vitamin/mineral deficiencies, particularly deficits in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and folate*
  • Can result is metabolic bone disease in some patients* 
  • Rerouting of bile, pancreatic and other digestive juices can result in intestinal irritation or ulcers.

*Can be avoided through proper diet and vitamin supplements.

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