What You Should Know About Gastric Bypass Surgery

By Lisa Green

Bariatric surgery is any surgical operation that is conducted with the aim of reducing body weight. The main types that are performed commonly in New York include gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. Although a few differences exist among these surgeries, they are fundamentally the same in the manner in which they achieve their desired effect. In this article we explore the procedure involved in the bypass operation as well as the associated risks and benefits.

It is important that the client and the surgeon have a detailed discussion on the need for the operation first before a decision is made. Other options of losing weight should be offered and tried out with surgery coming in as a last resort. Lifestyle changes are among the most effective and are also affordable by a majority of the population.

The candidate undergoing gastric bypass should ideally have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40. If the BMI value is less than this then the benefits may not be that much. For persons that have weight related complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea, the BMI cut-off value has been set at 35.

The steps that are involved in preparing for this operation are more or less the same as those involved in other surgeries. One needs to be subjected to a number of tests to determine whether they are fit enough to have the surgery. Some of the important tests conducted routinely include renal function tests and a full blood count. Some drugs such as aspirin and anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding and should be stopped before the operation.

One of two techniques can be used in this surgery. The Roux-en-Y is the commonest. The stomach is first reduced into a small pouch through banding or stapling before joined to the last segment of the small intestines. The first two parts are skipped (bypassed). All this is done through small incisions created in the anterior abdominal wall. One of the reasons as to why the technique us popular is because of the low rate of complications.

One of the reasons as to why weight loss occurs following the Roux-en-Y procedure is the small stomach size. Faster filling means that you will eat less than before. Consequently less food is available for conversion to fat for storage as most of it is used for the provision of energy. The other major contributor to weight loss is the reduced surface area that is necessary for absorption of nutrients.

The second alternative is what is termed extensive gastric bypass. This is a more radical approach that is mainly used in the event of biliary obstruction resulting from liver disease. It is for this reason that the procedure is sometimes called biliopancreatic diversion. The surgery itself involves the removal of the lower stomach portion and joining the upper portion to the lower part of the small intestines.

Even as you plan to have the bypass, there are a number of potential risks that you should be aware of. Reduced absorption of useful nutrients is the most commonly encountered. It is especially severe in the case of extensive gastric bypass. Dumping syndrome is a collection of symptoms associated with rapid movement of food through the gut once the procedure has been performed. They include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sweating and weakness among others.

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