Understanding Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass is a type of weight loss surgery where the size of the stomach is reduced and parts of the small intestine is bypassed. The reduced stomach size restricts the amount of food that you can eat at one time. And, by bypassing parts of the small intestine the amount of nutrients that are absorbed by the food you do eat is reduced, which helps you to lose weight.

There are two basic types of gastric bypass surgery. The most common is Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. With this surgery, a portion at the top of the stomach is bound to make a pouch, and a Y-shaped segment of the small intestine is attached to it. It can be performed laparoscopically. The other type of gastric bypass surgery is extensive gastric bypass. In this surgery, the lower portion of the stomach is removed, and all but the last portion of the small intestine is bypassed. Your weight loss surgeon can help you decide which procedure is best for you.

Both surgeries have some risks. The stomach pouch may stretch, allowing more food to be consumed at one time, and negating the effect of the surgery. Stomach contents may leak into the abdominal cavity, causing acid to damage other organs. The band may slip, or staples may come out. Talk to your doctor about any risks that you may encounter, and the different ways that you can help to reduce their appearance.

People who have gastric bypass surgery should also eat carefully to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Both anemia and B-12 deficiency are common with gastric bypass. Talk to a Ft. Myers area nutritionist to develop a post-weight loss surgery meal plan.