What is Gastric Bypass?

What is Gastric Bypass? – Overview

Obesity affects approximately 42.4 percent of the American population, and if overweight and obese people were assessed together, they would constitute approximately 73.6 percent of the adult American population.

It is important to treat obesity as it can lead to potentially fatal complications such as heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes mellitus type 2, amongst other medical conditions.

Dieting using either calorie deficit or special diet plans and regular exercise can help treat obesity significantly.

However, these options do not work for everyone, and some people may need to undergo surgery to help with their weight loss. One of the many weight loss surgeries is gastric bypass surgery.

What is a Gastric Bypass Surgery?

A gastric bypass surgery, also known as the Roux-en-Y procedure, is a weight-loss procedure that aims to reduce the overall size of the stomach.

This reduced size of the stomach helps limit the amount of food the patient consumes and can result in significant weight loss.

As one of the most common bariatric procedures performed worldwide, a gastric bypass involves creating a small pouch in the stomach that is then attached directly to the small intestines.

The main aim is to remove a large portion of the stomach and have food bypass the initial parts of the small intestine.

The gastric bypass procedure is traditionally performed with general anesthesia.

However, with the development of new technologies, the gastric bypass procedure is now performed laparoscopically or minimally invasively.

Ideal Candidates for Gastric Bypass Procedure

The ideal candidate for gastric bypass is someone who is suffering from obesity and has exhausted all other resources with no positive results whatsoever. To be eligible for this bariatric surgery, the patient must have:

  • A BMI of over 40: This classifies as morbidly obese and is usually accompanied by several health issues. Returning to normal BMI with diet and exercise alone may be difficult for patients in this category.
  • A BMI between 35 and 39.9 with severe comorbidities as a result of obesity: This refers to patients who are moderate to severely obese and who are also suffering from other health conditions. For a person to qualify for gastric bypass, these health conditions should result from obesity and weight gain.
  • A BMI between 30 and 34 does not typically qualify for gastric bypass unless the patient also has serious comorbidities related to obesity.

Gastric bypass is not an appropriate choice for everyone because, in addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, the patient must also be willing to change their lifestyle.

They should be willing to live a healthier life and maintain the procedure’s results.

If the patient falls back into unhealthy habits, the procedure may do more harm than good.

Benefits of Gastric Bypass Procedure

A gastric bypass procedure has several benefits, as it cures obesity, which is the root of several medical health conditions and complications.

To emphasize the benefits of a gastric bypass, it is important to look at the conditions it can help manage:

  • High cholesterol levels: Deposition of fatty acids and cholesterol in different parts of the body
  • This can result in several health conditions
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure: This also has the potential to lead to several other conditions if left
  • untreated.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Obesity also has the potential to predispose you to different types of cancer. Hence, the treatment of obesity with gastric bypass has several benefits.

Steps of Gastric Bypass Procedure

The gastric bypass procedure, when performed laparoscopically, involves small incisions made in the abdominal region through which the surgeon will insert instruments and a camera for the surgery.

Once instruments are in place, the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach and attaches it directly to the small intestine, bypassing most of the stomach and a portion of the intestine.

The remaining part of the stomach will then be sutured to the second part of the intestine, bypassing the remaining portions of both organs.

After the surgery is completed, the surgeon will remove the instruments and suture the incisions shut.

Risks and Complications of Gastric Bypass Procedure

A gastric bypass procedure is a surgical procedure, and like other surgical procedures, it has certain risks and complications. These are:

  • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid accumulating in the abdominal cavity
  • Infection
  • Blood clot formation
  • Blood clots in the lungs, resulting in lung and breathing issues
  • Leakage of abdominal contents through the sutures

Some of the more significant complications that may occur in the long run include:

Bowel obstruction

Gallstones formation


Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar


Vomiting and diarrhea due to Dumping Syndrome


Stomach ulcers and perforation

See Also

Grants for Gastric Bypass

Weight Loss Surgery Grants

Mommy Makeover Cost

Current Version
July 27, 2021
Written By
Shubham Grover
April 16, 2024
Updated By
Daniyal Haider, MD



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