Written By: Emma Squillace
Have you heard of a procedure called the gastric bypass? It was one of the first and most successful bariatric surgeries, and is even called the “gold standard” of obesity treatment by many. Although in the last few years the gastric sleeve has become very popular, the gastric bypass is still the procedure of choice for lots of our patients. When we talk about the gastric bypass, we’re talking about a specific type of bypass called the “roux-en-y gastric bypass.” To help you understand more about why this procedure has been so successful for decades, today we’re going to tell you how it works.
Creating a smaller stomach
The first step in a gastric bypass is to separate your stomach into 2 parts. The smaller, top portion becomes your new functioning stomach. The larger part remains in place, but is disconnected from the digestive tract. This is slightly different from the gastric sleeve procedure, where the large piece of your stomach is removed from your body. Since the food you eat will be going into a much smaller stomach than you’re used to, this helps you feel full after small meals.
After your surgeon has separated the stomach into two pieces, your intestines are rerouted. The surgeon changes the digestive tract so that food now only goes through part of your small intestines, instead of all of them. This is important to the success of the operation because when food is in the small intestines, this is where calorie absorption primarily happens. When food spends less time in a shorter intestinal tract, fewer calories are absorbed. One important consideration is that not only fewer calories are absorbed, but also fewer nutrients are. So while you’re losing weight, it’s also critical to follow your surgeon’s instructions for taking vitamins and supplements. You’ll need these to help your body stay healthy since you won’t absorb all the nutrients you used to.
Researchers have found that part of the success of the gastric bypass appears to be related to hormonal changes that are triggered by the surgical changes in the digestive tract. These changes in the gut increase feelings of fullness, and decrease feelings of hunger. There is another very impressive outcome that can be caused by these changes: remission or improvement of type 2 diabetes. Some patients respond so well to the surgical changes to the digestive tract, that they are able to stop their diabetes medications before they leave the hospital after their gastric bypass.
The gastric bypass it the weight loss procedure that tends to result in the greatest amount of weight loss. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, patients who have a gastric bypass lose an average of 60 – 80% of their excess weight. This is because the procedure not only reduces the size of the stomach, but also alters the digestive tract which reduces calorie absorption and creates metabolic changes. This operation can be a particularly strong choice for people with type 2 diabetes, because of its success in curing or reducing the severity of diabetes in most patients. The gastric bypass is usually performed laparoscopically. This means our experts make several tiny incisions, instead of one large incision. This technique generally results in small scars, less pain and quicker recovery time. If you want to learn more about gastric bypass, we’d be happy to speak with you. You can talk with our supportive team by calling 855-690-0565.