An Overview of Gastric Bypass Surgery

If you are extremely overweight and exercise and dieting have not helped, gastric bypass can greatly improve the quality of life not only by improving your appearance and increasing your mobility, but also by reducing health problems caused by obesity like diabetes and heart or circulation problems. Gastric bypass surgery is for people with extreme, intractable weight problems, not for people with a slight cosmetic cellulite problem.

The Gastric Bypass Procedure

Gastric bypass surgery is a complicated procedure performed in a hospital under general anesthesia (you’re unconscious). You will be in surgery from one to four hours, and stay in the hospital one to seven days. In addition to gastric band procedures, there are two techniques currently for gastric bypass.

Currently, two techniques are available for gastric bypass: the Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass and the biliopancreatic diversion bypass.

The Roux-en-Y bypass is more common and less complicated than the biliopancreatic diversion bypass, since it doesn’t remove parts of the stomach. It is performed through open surgery with one long incision, but can also be performed laparoscopically. The biliopancreatic is less common and significantly more complicated than the Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass. Parts of the stomach are taken out and the bypass is attached to the distal ileum.

In both approaches, the surgeon creates a small stomach pouch to curb food intake, and then part of the small intestine is attached to that pouch so food will bypass the duodenum. This will decrease the absorption of nutrients and significantly restrict food intake.

Recovery From Gastric Bypass

After gastric bypass surgery, expect to spend two to three days in the hospital, and two to five weeks of recovery before you can expect to return to normal activities. Gastric bypass, regardless of technique, will leave a permanent scar or scars, but you should be able to cover them with clothing.

Post-surgery treatments should include a dietary plan, regular exercise, behavioral-modification therapy, and vitamin supplements.

Cost of Gastric Bypass

Either procedure should be covered by health insurance, but check with your insurer. Costs of gastric bypass surgery vary according to many factors, including type of bypass procedure (laparoscopic or open) and how long you must stay in the hospital.

Prices vary widely according to what type of procedure is performed but the average charge for gastric bypass is around $22,500.

Risks of Gastric Bypass

As with any surgery, there are risks, including bleeding and infection, as well as other risks specific to the surgery.

Consulting with a Plastic Surgeon is the first step in finding out if gastric bypass is right for you.


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