Gastric Bypass

This procedure is highly thought of more so than other weight loss surgeries often also referred to as bariatric surgery. Not only is it popular in the UK, it makes up a large proportion of weight loss surgeries across the world, including America. Of all of the surgeries it is one of the procedures which often provides the best results with regards to the amount of weight loss in patients. For this reason it is deemed very popular and in most cases, around 75% of them, results have shown that patients lose between 75 and 80% of their excess body weight over the following months after surgery. The first year post-operation will see the patient lose the most weight, and the process of losing this weight will slow down usually within the second year.


Success of this weight loss is however down to you alone and you will need to stick to a strict aftercare plan to achieve the dramatic results, which many achieve. The surgical procedure does involve the bypassing of the small intestine, which can lead to nutritional complications, you will be required to take nutritional supplements and vitamins post surgery, often as well as taking these types of supplements for the foreseeable future. This is due to the reduction of actual food intake, your body will therefore have less to absorb in terms of nutritional qualities. As well as regularly taking nutritional supplements, you will be required to follow a strict diet, this will be designed to maximise the specific types of food your body needs to stay healthy. You will have advice from specialists throughout the procedure with regards to diet, however you will have the responsibility of following it strictly. It is of upmost importance that you follow the diet set out for you, as well as taking these nutritional supplements, this will as much as possible prevent any nutritional problems developing. The gastric bypass is not the simplest of weight loss surgeries and requires a great deal of skill from the surgeon. It works by both decreasing the size of your stomach and small intestine, reducing overall food consumption and absorption.

The Operation

The procedures involve making the top section of the stomach smaller this top section is then attached to your small intestine, however in a way that bypasses some of the small intestines, reducing the digestive flow. The stomach is divided into two compartments, usually a small compartment (the top) and a larger compartment (the bottom) and therefore reducing the overall stomach size. The smaller section created in the stomach often referred to as the pouch is usually similar to the size of an egg, which can hold around 1-2 ounces of food. This reduces the size substantially as a normal stomach is approximately the size of a football. The stomach is divided by stapling or stitching, which is why a gastric bypass can sometimes be referred to as ‘stomach stapling’. The term ‘stomach stapling’ became popular in the media, however this term does not accurately describe gastric bypass surgery, the procedure is much more complex than just a simple ‘stapling’. The small intestines will be divided into two; one section of the intestine will be connected to the newly created stomach pouch, creating a new route for food. The other end of the small intestine, which is still connected to the lower original stomach, will become the bypassed area of intestine. It will however be reattached to the small intestine, as it is needed to pass digestive juices and hormones. It will be attached lower down to the other section of intestine, which has created the new route for food, thus creating a ‘Y’ shape. The surgery will be performed under a general anaesthetic, and usually takes between one and three hours to complete, but duration may be longer if any complications occur. Once the operation is completed you will be required to stay in hospital for approximately two to five days, again if complications occur your stay may be increased.

Possible Adjustments

Many patients who are undergoing this surgery ask how much of the small intestine is bypassed. As stated earlier the section bypassed, is the part in which is already attached to your stomach; usually this is cut around 40 inches/100cm down. It is possible for both lengths of the small intestine to be adjusted increasing or decreasing the amount of food that can be absorbed. For example the larger the amount of intestine bypassed the fewer calories you will be able to absorb, therefore the maximum amount of weight can be lost.

How Will My Digestive System Change?

You will need to alter your lifestyle following the procedure, especially the way in which you consume food. You must chew your food at a slow pace whilst ensuring food is chewed as much as possible. Once the food has been chewed correctly, it will pass down the oesophagus, into your new stomach pouch, and then into the small intestine. The bile and other enzymes will be passed through the bypassed section of small intestine, and will join the food lower down the small intestine, along the foods ‘new route’. This will decrease the time that calories can be absorbed, as well as decreasing the amount of food that can be held in the stomach, inevitably leading to successful weight loss.

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