Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass is the leading operation performed for weight loss worldwide.

In the US, gastric bypass comprises approximately 80 percent of all bariatric operations performed. More than 25 years of data demonstrate gastric bypass achieves safe, long-lasting weight loss and improvement in obesity related diseases that persists decades. Your surgeon will help you decide if this is the right operation for you.

How does it work?

Gastric bypass involves creation of a small pouch out of the upper stomach using a device called a linear cutting stapler. The pouch is completely separated from the remainder of the stomach (the remainder of the stomach is called the "remnant" stomach,). The surgeon then rearranges the small intestine to bring part of it to this pouch, thus restoring gastrointestinal continuity . After gastric bypass, patients feel full after eating a small portion of food, just enough to fill their pouch. Food eventually empties out of the pouch down into the intestines, where it meets with digestive juices secreted by the remnant stomach, beyond which digestion and absorption of calories occurs. Gastric bypass limits the amount of food patients are able to eat by virtue of the small pouch, leading to weight loss.

What are the risks?

Gastric bypass is very safe, but is still major gastrointestinal surgery. Complications include leakage from the connections made in the intestine, blood clots, bleeding, pneumonia and infections. Long-term complications (months or years after surgery) occur in 5-7 percent of patients and include hernias, ulcers, narrowing of the connections made in the intestine and nutritional issues. It is rare that such problems are life-threatening; the vast majority can be treated, although in some cases such treatment may include a second operation. Your surgeon will discuss these issues at length with you.

What are the benefits?

Weight loss after gastric bypass is approximately 60 percent of excess weight in most patients, although some patients may lose more weight than this. More than 80 percent of patients will experience improvement in related diseases such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease and osteoarthritis. Gastric bypass appears to be especially effective in treating diabetes.

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