Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is a common and effective way to achieve and maintain weight loss. This article will discuss what gastric bypass surgery is, who is a good candidate for the surgery, and the benefits of the procedure.

Dr. Blake Movitz, at the Detroit Weight Loss Center in Southfield, MI, is helping many patients reach their weight loss goals. Call our office to book an appointment today!

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery). During the surgical procedure, the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch, and the larger portion of the stomach is bypassed.

This surgery leaves you with just a small-sized stomach, about the size of an egg. Your surgeon will also bypass a portion of your intestines, which affects digestion and metabolism.

There are a few different types of gastric bypass surgery. The most common of these is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

What is Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a type of gastric bypass surgery used to help with weight loss. The surgeon will begin by dividing the top portion of the stomach to make a small pouch about the size of an egg. This prevents the larger part of the stomach from receiving or digesting food.

Then, the surgeon will divide the small intestine and connect one part to the stomach pouch to allow food to pass. The small bowel segment that comes from the larger part of the bypassed stomach will then be attached further down the intestine. 

The resulting shape will resemble the letter “Y”. The new connection will allow the stomach acids and digestive enzymes to mix with the food further down the digestive tract.

Roux-en-Y can be performed as a laparoscopic surgery, meaning that it can be done minimally invasive, through small incisions, which has a quicker recovery and lower risk of complications than more invasive surgery.

How Does Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Work?

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass works in the following ways:

  • A smaller stomach pouch means reduced food intake and less calories
  • Food bypasses the first part of the small intestine, and therefore, less food is absorbed
  • The new route decreases the hunger and increases the fullness sensation
  • Effects on hormones and metabolism improve high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and other metabolic conditions. 

Why is Gastric Bypass Surgery Performed?

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help a person lose excess weight and treat weight-related medical problems. In some cases, it is also used to treat heartburn and reflux. Weight-loss surgery may also help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, certain heart problems, sleep apnea, fatty liver, and other weight-related medical problems.

Candidates for Gastric Bypass Surgery

If you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, then you are also likely a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass surgery requirements include the following:

  • Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more
  • Individuals with a BMI of 30-34.9 and weight-related medical problems

What to Expect After Gastric Bypass Surgery

After gastric bypass surgery, patients stay in the hospital overnight. You will return to eating normal food gradually. 

Recovery from Gastric Bypass Surgery

Pain is usually mild. You will be instructed to begin light cardiovascular exercise as soon as you return home.

Life after Gastric Bypass Surgery

You will need to adjust your diet for the first few weeks after your surgery in the following ways:

  • Week 1: Full liquid diet. You should limit your diet to sugar-free, noncarbonated liquids that are high in protein, and low in carbohydrates and fat.
  • Week 2: Puree diet
  • Week 3 to 6: Soft foods
  • After 6 weeks: You may return to eating regular solid foods.

In addition, you will receive detailed instructions to take multivitamins and supplements that will be followed closely after surgery. 

You’ll have medical checkups to monitor your health in the first several months after weight-loss surgery. You may need laboratory testing, bloodwork, and various exams.

You will need to start taking vitamin and mineral supplements to help you get the nutrients you need. Nutritional deficiencies can occur after gastric bypass surgery. Therefore, your doctor may recommend regular blood tests every 3 months to check your health the first year, then bloodwork may be annually thereafter.

Pain is usually mild. You will be instructed to begin light cardiovascular exercise as soon as you return home.  

On average, patients lose around 25 to 35% of their body weight in the first one to two years after having a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. 

There is a potential of regaining weight, this is often associated with poor snacking and eating habits, unhealthy ways of managing mental health, suboptimal exercise and sleep.

Dr. Movitz and the team at Detroit Weight Loss Center can provide the assistance you need to maintain long-term weight loss.

Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery

The benefits of gastric bypass surgery include the following:

  1. It is a reliable way to maintain long-term weight loss
  2. It helps treat other conditions associated with obesity and GERD
  3. The surgical procedure is well-established 

Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery

The following bariatric risks are associated with gastric bypass surgery:

  • Leak — A postoperative gastrointestinal leak is a rare but serious complication of gastric bypass.
  • Stomal stenosis — A stomal (anastomotic) stenosis is defined clinically as the inability to swallow liquids and usually occurs if the anastomosis narrows to a diameter of less than 10 mm. This is usually treated with endoscopic balloon dilation. 
  • Marginal ulcers — Marginal ulcers are areas of inflammation that can lead to pain and difficulty eating. In rare circumstances, marginal ulcers can cause bleeding, perforation, or blockage.
  • Gastrogastric fistula — A gastrogastric (GG) fistula is a channel that develops between the gastric pouch and the excluded stomach remnant, allowing ingested food to enter the bypassed foregut. 
  • Dumping syndrome — After RYGB, approximately 50 percent of patients will experience symptoms of flushing, crampy diarrhea, palpitations, and diaphoresis after ingesting a meal rich in simple carbohydrates.
  • Hypoglycemia — More severe forms of low blood glucose can also occur independent of recent food ingestion. 
  • Internal hernia, small bowel obstruction — Small bowel obstructions can occur at any time after RYGB, with a lifetime incidence of approximately 3 to 5 percent. 
  • Psychosocial impairment — Some patients experience psychosocial impairments following bariatric surgery, leading to alcoholism, substance abuse, and even self-injurious behaviors or suicide.
  • Mortality — The 30-day mortality risk is usually less than 0.1%. 

Consult a Weight Loss Surgeon Today

If you would like to speak to a weight loss surgeon, book an appointment with Dr. Blake Movitz at the Detroit Weight Loss Center in Southfield, Michigan. We can offer individualized solutions to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Blake Movitz, MD,  FACS

Dr. Blake Movitz

Dr. Blake Movitz

Fellowship trained from the Mayo Clinic in Minimally Invasive Advanced GI Surgery, Complex Endoscopy and Bariatric Surgery.