Before we talk about the pros and cons of gastric bypass, let’s talk about what it is and how it helps people lose weight.
Gastric bypass surgery is sometimes called “restrictive” surgical procedure because it “restricts” how much food your stomach can hold. It also affects how calories and food are absorbed into your blood stream. Because it both affects the amount of food your stomach can intake and how many calories you can absorb, it is one of the most successful surgeries in respect to the amount of weight people lose.
The most common type of gastric bypass is called the Roux-en-Y, which can be performed either through a tiny incision (laparoscopically) or through a larger incision. Your surgeon will discuss your options with you.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Advantages
Gastric bypass surgery has quite a few advantages in respect to managing obesity. Gastric bypass patients generally see dramatic weight loss quickly and many continue to lose weight for 18-24 months after the surgery. Some patients maintain weight loss of 60-70 percent of excess weight for as many as 10 years!
This kind of dramatic weight loss in a patient who was obese or morbidly obese often comes with other improvements in health complications caused by obesity such as diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. These improvements can bring an improved quality of life and mental outlook.
Potential Disadvantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery
In order to achieve a successful outcome, gastric bypass also requires a permanent lifelong change in your diet and lifestyle.
Because gastric bypass affects how your digestive system absorbs calories, anemia and malnourishment can occur after the surgery and you may have to supplement your food intake with minerals and vitamins long term. Gastric bypass patients may also be more susceptible to gallstones as a result of rapid weight loss.
Patients could experience what is known as dumping syndrome. This is when a gastric bypass patient consumes foods that are high in sugar and then experiences diarrhea, nausea and/or reflux.
As with any major surgery, there are risks with gastric bypass surgery. While the typical gastric bypass patient will not have complications after surgery, it is important that you understand risk before undergoing surgery. Talk to your surgeon or health care provider about any concerns you might have.
Are you considering gastric bypass surgery? Come to one of our free information seminars. One of our surgeons will answer your questions and start you down the path to weight loss success. Call (781) 306-6166 to register today.