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Gastric Bypass

What is gastric bypass surgery?

This is a weight loss surgery that has gained popularity as this surgery procedure has shown safe and effective results for many. The reasons are several for which many obese individuals opt for this surgery. For instance, loss of body weight can be sustained and it is maintained for a long time. It can also effectively reduce the chance of diseases that are linked to obesity. At the same time the risk of complications is low from such a surgical procedure. The long term results that one can expect from this surgery are also beneficial such as sustained weight loss, better health and lowered risk of obesity related diseases and mortality rate that is lowered significantly.

Requirements of gastric bypass surgery

The requirements that need to be met for one to be eligible for gastric bypass surgery are several:

  • The extent to which a patient is overweight.
  • If an individual to advise to take up this surgery when less drastic measures of weight loss do not work.
  • When an individual suffers from chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, which can be aggravated by obesity.
Usually patients who are morbidly obese usually qualify for such surgery. As per the medical terms, people whose body mass index is 40 or higher or those who have to lose more than 100 pounds to be of ideal body weight. Also, patients who have been obese for many years are usually likely candidates for this procedure. Five years is the cut off point for obesity after which, when no other measures of weight loss seem to work, gastric bypass can be resorted to.

Patients who are obese as well as suffer from any related medical condition can be recommended for such a surgery as long as the procedure does not aggravate the condition. It is usually recommended by qualified surgeons or doctors who are monitoring the health of an obese patient. The doctor initially recommends a weight loss program where there are certain exercises and diet chart given as instruction to the patient. When the weight loss is not seen as desired, that is when doctors recommend this surgery to the patient.

There are many who might have underlying medical or psychological problems due to which they cannot be candidates for such a surgery. It is possible to look up eligibility criteria on websites that offer online consultation for such a surgery.

What this surgery involves?

The procedure usually involves two components. The stomach pouch is made small, about 30 millimeters. This is done by dividing the stomach or separating the top part of the stomach. The first portion of the small intestine is also divided. The bottom end of the small intestine that is divided is then brought up and this is connected to the lessened stomach pouch. The next part of the procedure comprises of the top portion of the newly divided small intestine being connected to portions further down so that digestive enzymes and other fluids of the stomach, which are part of the bypassed stomach and intestine portion, can mix and digest the food.

Gastric bypass surgery is also known as stomach stapling. That is because medical staples are used to reduce the size of the stomach pouch of the patient before it is reattached to the intestine’s midsection. With the bypass setup that is created in the stomach patients are restricted in their intake of food in a single meal. They can consume only about one to two ounces of food in a single sitting. The result leads to less craving for food which in turn leads to significant weight loss.

The surgery is usually conducted by laparoscopic techniques, these days due to which chances of complications from such a surgery are lessened. Surgeons usually make small cuts and a scope with a camera is used to perform the surgery. In this procedure about 80 percent of the stomach is removed. This is recommended for those who weigh around 158.7 kg or 350 pounds as there are risks of malnutrition for those have lower body weight.

Another method involves making an incision through which the surgeon handles the stomach as well as intestines physically. A pouch is created in the upper part, dividing the stomach as well as dividing the small intestine and connecting these parts. Food bypasses the bottom and larger part of the stomach and hence, the food intake capacity reduces in the patient.

Who are eligible for the surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is recommended only to those who are morbidly obese. In medical terms such people are overweight by £100 or more. They also have a body mass index 40 year higher. Usually body mass index is considered to be the right indicator of obesity as it takes into account weight and height of the individual. Doctors who are monitoring the health of obese patients and find that traditional weight loss measures have little impact, they suggest that surgery to them. Often many people suffer from clinical depression due to obesity. To search people gastric Bypass surgery is also offered as an option.

What to expect during the surgical procedure?

Patients are made to undergo different health tests to assess the general health condition. Certain pre existing conditions can complicate such a surgical procedure. Hence doctors will evaluate the different health tests and general health condition of a patient before they go ahead with the gastric bypass surgery. Patients are also told what to expect during the surgery as well as afterward.

Patients are hospitalized for a period of three to five days. This is to ensure that no complications arise after the surgery is performed. They are not able to eat immediately after the surgery and hence they are kept on liquid diet.

Introduction of solid food is done in small stages to evaluate how well the digestive system is able to absorb the food. In certain cases, patients experience discomfort when consuming solid food after surgery or could even vomit. Even after the patient is discharged, they are advised to be on a liquid diet or to consume pureed food.

After surgery very little food can be consumed in a single meal. This is usually about 28 grams or an ounce of food. Fatty foods or sugar is often difficult to tolerate after the surgery. Many patients suffer from diarrhea after the surgery. There are other nutritional deficiencies that develop in the system since food moves quickly from the stomach pouch and the intestine. Osteoporosis is another condition that can develop due to calcium deficiency after this procedure.

To counteract these deficiencies which are common in such patients, doctors prescribing supplements that need to be made part of a regular diet.

Other complications that arise include development of kidney stones or gallstones after such a surgery. Some people also develop stomach ulcers. Hernia might also appear where the incision is made for the surgery. In certain cases, infection develops as well. These side effects however are rare since the procedure has become more advanced and safe.

What to expect in the postoperative period

This surgical procedure has become well established for which complications and risks have lessened for patients.

  • Morbidity rate is only about 1 or 2% in the surgery.
  • About 25% require treatment for complications that arise in the postoperative period.
  • Patients are advised to drink lots of fluids so that dehydration is not caused.
  • The staples that hold the stomach can open which can lead to infection in the abdominal cavity.
  • Excess intake of food than the new pouch can handle can lead to vomiting and acid reflux.
  • Right counseling is required in the recovery period as well as medical checkup from time to time.
There are other similar procedures that one can also avail of which is similar to gastric bypass. For instance removable lap-band or sterile bands are placed in the stomach pouch to provide similar results. There are other experimental procedures such as implanted electrodes which can send out false signals of fullness to the brain, thereby reducing the intake requirements.

Positive results

With time gastric bypass surgery procedures have improved and so have their efficacy results. It is known that people who weigh more than 100 pounds have lost significant weight within a year after undergoing the procedure. Some people have gained back weight, but not as much to be called obese. Benefits that people find after undergoing surgery includes lightness of movement as well as feel good about their physical appearance. They also feel more accepted socially after the procedure is undergone. Health conditions such as heart disease, sleep apnea or diabetes are reduced in terms of risks after undergoing surgery.

The best way to reduce risks of complications gastric bypass is to choose a reputed clinic or surgeon who has considerable success rate with such surgeries. Again pre diagnostic steps are also vital to ensure that complications do not arise after surgery is undertaken. With the right monitoring of food intake and supplements one can be assured of good health after undergoing surgery. Hence counseling post surgery and monitoring of diet is vital to ensure that the weight loss is sustained.

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