Gastric Bypass is also called Roux-en-Y because a Y connection is made with the small intestines during the surgery. Most insurance companies pay for Gastric Bypass. The procedure has a successful track record and has been performed for more than 20 years. The surgery not only helps patients lose weight but is also beneficial in resolving and/or improving many medical conditions linked to obesity. Some of these conditions include: Type II Diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastric Bypass is a combination of two beneficial tools; restriction and malabsorption. With this procedure, the stomach is divided into two parts - the upper (smaller) portion of the stomach is called the pouch, and the lower (larger) portion of the stomach is called the remnant. The pouch can hold one to two ounces of food or liquid at a time. The remnant stomach still has a valuable function as it continues to make enzymes important for digestion.
To bypass the remnant stomach, the intestines are divided and then connected to the pouch. The enzymes from the stomach travel through the duodenum (the first part of the intestines). The duodenum also has an opening where bile and pancreatic juice enter the intestines. This part of the small bowel then brings the stomach enzymes, bile and pancreatic juice to the Y connection of the Gastric Bypass. [This is why the surgery is called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.] The food travels through one way, while the digestive enzymes go the other way and then are mixed down stream in the intestines. Nothing is removed in the Gastric Bypass, the intestines are merely rerouted to help bypass the stomach.
Patients who choose Gastric Bypass can lose 70% of their excess body weight or more. Although everybody initially loses weight, approximately 20% of people will gain some of the weight back. The key to success is to only drink liquids with zero calories, and to choose nutritious, high-protein foods that make you feel full. Meats, fruits and vegetables are healthy, wise choices that make people feel full. Soft foods are easier to eat but do not provide the same full feeling, which often leads to over eating and eventually will lead to weight gain. Many patients who have Gastric Bypass cannot eat sugary foods as they make them feel weak, jittery, nauseated, and even sometimes painful. This is called dumping syndrome.
Good weight loss and weight maintenance
Resolution of medical problems
Can be performed laparoscopically
Increased quality of life
Covered by most insurances
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur with the Gastric Bypass. At the time of surgery there could be bleeding, infections, staple line leaks, injury to other organs, pain, blood clots that may travel to the heart or lungs, pneumonia, or death. Complications that could occur in the future include: unexplainable pain, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, stricture of the connection between the pouch and the intestines, weight gain, inability to eat certain foods, nausea, vomiting, gallstones, diarrhea, constipation, hernia, bowel obstruction, ulcers, and death. A more complete list of complications is discussed on the consent form.
At least 5% of patients who have gastric bypass will have to go back to surgery at some time in their lives for removal of gallbladder, bowel obstruction, ulcers or loose skin. They may also experience abdominal pain or very rarely, gastric bypass reversal.