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Gastric Bypass: Is It Really Necessary?

Sometimes when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we don’t like what we see. Our modern lifestyle does not exactly engender healthy living for normal people. The convenience of fast food combined with a sedentary lifestyle is not exactly conducive to a healthy life. Obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic in in terms of how it has spread. A lot of people are trying to be more fit, of course, with diet and exercise. However, sometimes, that’s not enough. This is where a gastric bypass comes in.

Having weight-loss surgery is quickly becoming an increasing trend among people who find that they just can’t seem to lose weight. This might have come about because of a combination of lifestyle choices, genetic predispositions and physical problems, but the results are still the same: stubborn flab that doesn’t seem to go away or even in some cases, incredibly overweight individuals. For people like these, a gastric bypasss is often their only hope.

What exactly is a gastric bypass? This is a simple process in which stomach capacity is lessened and a large part of the intestinal tract is skipped in the digestive process. It may sound complicated but it is actually the simplest weight-loss surgery that is possible. There are actually several variations of gastric bypasses but the most common type is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. In this type of gastric bypass, a pouch is create at the top of the stomach using surgical staples sometimes this pouch is as small as a walnut. Then the stomach pouch is connected to the middle part of the small intestine, the jejunum.

All of this can be done by either an open procedure, where in the whole abdomen is sliced open, or by making a small incision in the side of the abdomen and using small tools and a camera to do the procedure, a process that is sometimes called the laparoscopic approach. An open procedure can be actually very dangerous and is also subject to longer recovery times; this is why the laparoscopic approach is often advised.

Of course, this is all a major surgical procedure and you can’t just have your digestive tract messed with. You can only be qualified for this procedure if you have been obese for five years, in which you have tried everything to lose weight, are not alcoholic, and not suffering from any psychiatric disorder. An age limit is also set for procedure only individuals from 18 to 65 may have a gastric bypass.

It may all seem like a done deal: just hop onto the operating table and you’ll be well on your way to svelteness. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. A gastric bypass is a four hour operation followed by a five day recovery period, in which the patient is observed. Liquids will be the only source of nourishment for him during the observation period. Afterwards, there will be a twelve week regimented diet that will take him from liquids to solids so that the patient’s new stomach may handle it. There will also be side-effects: a smaller stomach means less food which means less energy overall you’ll be lethargic until your body learns to cope. Also, you may experience pain and vomiting after eating too much or too fast.

A gastric bypass looks like a great shortcut to slimness but it’s a lot more difficult than it may seem.


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Understanding Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is done to primarily solve or treat morbid or severe obesity and other health problems associated with it. With this procedure the stomach is made smaller. The food will bypass part of the small intestine. By doing so, the patient will consume less because he feels full immediately. Getting full easily would reduce the calories taken by the body and eventually lead to weight loss.

Actually, gastric bypass is just among the many similar operations to reduce obesity. To refer all of these procedures, bariatric surgery is the term. These operations intend to reduce accumulated fatty tissues by altering the physiological and psychological attitude of a patient towards food and eating.

How does it alter normal digestion?

What normally happens is that after eating, the food would go through the stomach and then proceed to the small intestine. The nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine before it goes to the large intestine where waste is eventually pushed out of the body. The most common gastric bypass procedure, the Roux-en Y gastric bypass, alters this process.

In the Roux-en gastric bypass, a small pouch is made on the top part of the stomach. The lower part of the stomach, which is much smaller now, is connected directly to the middle part of the small intestine. The stomach was made smaller and at the same time, the intestine was cut short, the upper portion of the small intestine was bypassed. Both the upper portion of the stomach and the small intestine no longer digest food.

Statistics showed that patients would lose 60%, on the average, of their weight after the gastric bypass surgery. There are even who would say that they have lost 80% of their weight. There are studies showing that about 90% of patient who have undergone gastric surgery were able to maintain their weight loss after ten years of having the surgery performed.

Having gastric surgery is not risk-free though. People who have undergone this procedure would report more cases of gallstones, in other studies, they would also report nutritional issues like anemia or osteoporosis.

Every year there are about 140,000 gastric procedure being performed in the United States alone. The results could really be successful, with people being able to get better weight-loss results, however, about 2% of patients would find it very fatal. In the 2%, one percent could be as a result of complications during surgery. The heart in unable to support the pumping it has to do to handle the excess weight or the complication brought by it.

The other one percent cause of fatality among people who gone through the procedure, would be about not following the dietary restrictions that should be followed after the surgery. After gastric surgery, the body could no longer handle too much intake of high-sugar and high-fat food. There is a special diet that those who have just undergone the surgery should follow. Bypass diet would usually include foods that are high in protein but low in fat, fiber, calories, and sugar. There are vitamins and mineral supplements that are required to be taken to avoid health and nutritional deficiencies.

With more and more people turning to gastric bypass surgery as a weight-loss option, it is important to understand not only the procedure and the benefits. It is also important to weigh the risks and if our lifestyle and our body would be able to handle the dramatic loss of weight.


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Instant and Long-Term Weight Loss with Gastric Bypass Surgery

Want to lose weight but afraid to go under the knife? Listen up. Your long-time battle with the bulge will end for good with one solutiongastric bypass surgery. It involves changing the digestive system to change your appetite; that way, you eat and digest less amount of food. Aside from the significant weight loss, the surgery also helps minimize the risk of developing obesity-related diseases.

Also called the Roux-en-Y surgery, the procedure primarily entails making a walnut-sized pouch at the upper stomach and putting a bypass around a portion of the small intestine and the stomach. Consequently, the food you eat bypasses most of the stomach and restricts the ability of your digestive system to take in calories. Hence, the term bypass surgery. Surgeons perform this operation using a small tube called a laparoscope that creates small incisions in the abdomen.

A small video camera is attached on the instrument, and this device enables the surgeon to see the inside of the abdomen. The laparoscopic technique is generally preferred over the traditional open bypass surgery that makes large incisions in the abdomen. Compared to the open bypass surgery, the laparoscopic technique is less risky and less painful because of the small incisions. Also, it results in shorter recovery period.

The procedure starts with the stapling of the patients stomach at the top to seal this area off from the rest of the stomach. As a result, the sealed portion or the pouch will be able to contain only an ounce of food. Separated from the entire stomach, the pouch is then connected to a small part of the small intestine. To be able to achieve that, the surgeon cuts a small part of the small intestine and sews it onto the pouch.

The surgery is not for everyone, though. There are certain risks involved; and a prospective patient must understand them before undergoing the surgery. If you plan to undergo the weight loss surgery, consult a surgeon and ask all your concerns regarding the procedure. Usually, the surgeon explains the things you should expect during and after the surgery.

Before the surgery, you will be given anesthetics to keep you asleep during the operation. The anesthesia is usually in the form of an intravenous (IV) line or analgesics. During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a tube into your nose down to the top of the stomach. To heal the staple line on the stomach, the tube is joined to a suction machine that empties the stomach pouch after the surgery. The surgery lasts for about two to four hours, but you will need to stay in the hospital for around three to five days for recovery.

Expect some diet and lifestyle changes after the weight loss surgery. One to three days after the procedure, you will not eat anything to allow your stomach to heal. Then, for about three months, you will follow a diet that starts with liquids, progresses to soft and pureed foods, and lastly to regular foods. You will have to be cautious with your food intake because eating huge meals can cause extreme pain under the breastbone and vomiting.

Also, you will notice some changes in your body and behavior three to six months after the gastric bypass surgery. These include dry skin, hair thinning, fatigue, body pains, and mood swings. These will be your bodys reactions to the quick weight loss resulting from the surgery.


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How Gastric Bypass Works

Gastric bypass surgeries and other weight loss medical procedures being performed in the United States are increasing for the last few years. This may be in response for the increase in the number of people suffering from obesity. According to the American Society of Bariatric Surgery, there are about 140,000 gastric bypass being performed every year.

Those who have undergone weight loss surgeries, lose about 50 to 60% of their body weight, a year after the surgery. Along with the weight loss, they would also be losing ailments associated with obesity like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart diseases and even cancer.

The Procedure

The most common gastric bypass performed is called the Roux-en Y gastric bypass. In this procedure, a small pouch is created on the top of the stomach. It is stapled, to seal it off from the rest of the stomach. This small pouch will no longer digest any food. The upper part of the small intestine, the duodenum, is attached to this small pouch.

When eating, the food would bypass the small pouch in the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. The food would go directly to the middle section of the intestine called the jejunum. Since it is the small intestine that does the absorption of minerals, vitamins and calories, the body will absorb limited calories only. A Y formation is formed just below the stomach.

Incisions are made in the abdomen to perform the procedure. Surgeons will be using the laparoscope or a small, tubular instrument with a camera. This will enable the surgeon to see the abdomen and perform the surgery. The laparoscopic gastric bypass actually makes the stay in the hospital and the recovery period shorter and quicker.

There are still open gastric bypass performed, however, there could be wound-related problems with this kind of procedure. The laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. The procedure lasts for about four hours. Patients who have undergone the procedure stay in the hospital for about two to six days to be monitored for any complications.

After the Surgery

Having a smaller stomach has effects on how much food the patient can eat. There are special diets that a patient recovering from gastric bypass surgery follows. Every food that the patient would eat will be important for his nutrition. There are times that they are also recommended nutritional supplements to avoid deficiencies like anemia or vitamin deficiency.

There are patients reporting weight loss of as much as 50 to 60 percent a year after the surgery. There are even some who would report an astounding 80% weight loss. However, it is still possible for patients to stretch their stomachs and have that large size again. There is still a possibility of getting back those lost pounds. That is why doctors would recommend dietary restrictions and exercise plant that would keep the pounds away.

There are also tendencies that gastric bypass patients would develop gallstones, stomach ulcers, hernia or nutritional deficiencies. The part of the stomach which was bypassed can get enlarged, it could cause bloating and hiccups. There is also the Dumping syndrome which happens when the food moves quickly to the small intestine. This can happen after eating foods high in sugar or fat.


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