All about laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is a weight-loss procedure performed on obese patients who have failed to respond to other treatments and interventions. After this type of bariatric surgery, the size of your stomach will be significantly reduced, limiting the amount of food you can eat. A gastric bypass will also limit your calorie absorption rates from the foods you do eat.
There are two major types of gastric bypass procedures: open surgery and laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery. During open surgery, the doctor makes an incision and physically performs alterations to your stomach and small intestine. If you qualify for laparoscopic procedures, the doctor will make between four and six smaller incisions, through which a special device called a laparoscope will be inserted; this device is connected to a monitor that allows your gastric bypass doctor to watch and control the laparoscope and the surgical tools used to perform your procedure. A different procedure, known as lap band surgery or gastric banding, can also be used to help obese patients get their weight under control.
How Gastric Bypass Surgery Works
Whether you're having open surgery or laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, there are two main steps to the operation. First, the doctor will staple your stomach, dividing it into a small upper pouch and a large lower pouch. The upper pouch will be where the food you eat will go; the lower pouch will remain forever sealed off.
Then, the gastric bypass doctor will create a connection between this small upper pouch and your small intestine, allowing the food you eat to be digested. Because most of your calorie absorption occurs in the lower part of your stomach, this bypass will reduce the number of calories your body gets from the food you eat, while the small size of the upper pouch limits the physical amount of food you can eat in a single sitting.
You can also get a mini gastric bypass, which forms a larger upper stomach pouch, allowing you to eat more food, and is reversible.
Potential Risks and Complications of Gastric Bypass Surgery
A gastric bypass is considered a major operation, and it comes with both general and specific risks. Risks inherent to any form of surgery include infection and adverse reactions to the anesthesia. Blood clots and blood loss may complicate the procedure, and overweight patients are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke during major surgeries.
You may also suffer injuries to the stomach, intestines and other organs as a result of the surgery, and sometimes leaks form in the pouch that require emergency surgical interventions. Over the long term, patients may develop depression, need repairs to their stomach pouches, suffer anemia from poor nutrient absorption, and develop gallstones, kidney stones, ulcers or gastritis. Some of these risks can be minimized by following a carefully planned gastric bypass diet. Risks should be carefully taken into account and discussed thoroughly with your doctor before you consent to the surgery.