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Gastric bypass surgery limits the amount of food that you can eat and digest, which helps you lose weight. At the UC San Diego Health
Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, we perform gastric bypass using a minimally invasive approach called the Roux-en-Y procedure.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Process
In a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the stomach is made smaller by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach using surgical staples or a plastic band. The resulting pouch is only about the size of a walnut and can hold about one ounce of food.
After the pouch has been created, most of the stomach and part of the intestines are bypassed by attaching (usually stapling) part of the intestine to the small stomach pouch. As a result, a gastric bypass patient cannot eat as much and absorbs fewer nutrients and calories.
This minimally invasive, laparoscopic method allows for less time spent in the hospital and faster recovery and healing time.
Advantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Rapid initial weight loss
- Minimally invasive approach
- Longer clinical experience in the U.S.
- Slightly higher total average weight loss reported than with purely restrictive procedures
- Rapid improvement or resolution of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Disadvantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Requires cutting and stapling of stomach and bowel
- More potential operative complications
- Portion of digestive tract is bypassed, reducing absorption of essential nutrients
- Potential complications due to nutritional deficiencies
- "Dumping syndrome" can occur
- Procedure is not adjustable and difficult to reverse
- Higher mortality rate
Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Common Complications Include:
- Mortality rate: 0.5 - 2 percent
- Total complications: 23 percent
- Major complications: 2.1 percent
- Standard risks associated with any major surgery
- Nausea and vomiting
- Separation of stapled areas (which would require major revisional surgery)
- Leaks from staple lines (which would require major revisional surgery)
- Nutritional deficiencies
Recovery Timeline for Gastric Bypass Surgery
Your care team at UC San Diego Health will help you understand the post-operative and recovery process after your minimally invasive gastric bypass operation:
- Hospital stay is usually 48 to 72 hours.
- Many patients return to normal activity within two and a half weeks.
- Full surgical recovery usually occurs within about three weeks.