What is Gastric Bypass? – Overview
Obesity is a pandemic that affects approximately 40 percent of the American population, and around if overweight and obese people were to be assessed together, they would constitute approximately 72 percent of the total 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, diabetes mellitus type 2, amongst other medical conditions.
Dieting using either calorie deficit or special diet plans, along with 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 type of 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 that is consumed by the patient and can result in significant weight loss.
As one of the most common bariatric procedures performed worldwide, a gastric bypass procedure involves the creation of a small pouch of the stomach which will then be attached directly to the small intestines. The main aim here is to remove a huge portion of the stomach and to have food bypass the initial parts of the small intestine.
The gastric bypass procedure is traditionally performed with general anesthesia and requires a huge abdominal incision. However, with the development of new technologies, the gastric bypass procedure is now performed laparoscopically or in a minimally invasive manner.
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, who are also suffering from other health conditions. These health conditions should be the result of obesity and weight gain, for a person to qualify for gastric bypass.
- A BMI between 30 and 34, with several medical conditions as a result of the obesity
Gastric bypass is not an appropriate choice for everyone because apart from meeting the eligibility criteria, the patient must also be willing to make a change in their lifestyle. They should be willing to live a healthier life and maintain the results of the procedure. If the patient is going to fall back to their unhealthy habits, the procedure may end up doing 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
- 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
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Obesity also has the potential to predispose you to different types of cancer. Hence, 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 the probe for the surgery. Once probes have been placed, the surgeon will then remove a huge portion of your stomach and the first part of the small intestines. 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 complicated, the surgeon will remove the probes 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, has certain risks and complications associated with it. These are:
- Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
- Fluid accumulating in the abdominal cavity
- Blood clot formation
- Blood clot 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