Weight Loss Surgery, Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Gastric Bypass, Roux en-Y is considered the “gold standard” of the weight loss surgery operations.  It sets the benchmark to which all other operations are compared.  The Gastric Bypass operation has been performed since the 1960’s and has been proven in numerous studies to result in durable weight loss and an improvement in weight-related medical illnesses.  The obesity-related medical problems that may be improved or cured with gastric bypass include: Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, venous stasis disease, bladder incontinence, liver disease, certain types of headaches, heartburn, sleep apnea and many other disorders. Furthermore, this operation has resulted in marked improvements in quality of life.

Gastric bypass achieves its effects by creating a very small stomach pouch from the existing stomach.  The normal stomach is about the size of a football and the new pouch is about the size of a golf ball.  The small intestine is cut about 15 inches below the stomach, and is re-arranged so as to provide an outlet from the new pouch.  The remaining part of the bypassed stomach is responsible for producing some of the digestive juices that are responsible the breakdown of food.  These digestive juices travel down the intestines and mix with food about 60 inches from the new pouch.  The digestive and absorptive processes begin after the gastric juices mix with food.

The operation works by reducing food intake, reducing the feeling of hunger and reducing the available intestinal surface area where calories are absorbed.  Ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone secreted by the stomach, was first identified by Japanese researchers in 1999.  According to the various scientific studies, dieting raises ghrelin levels, increasing the feeling of hunger, while gastric bypass sharply reduces it, to almost undetectable levels, virtually eliminating hunger.

The result of gastric bypass is:

  • Decrease in appetite and cravings.

  • Decrease in the amount of food necessary to achieve satiety.

  • Decrease in the amount of calories that are absorbed from the meals consumed

It is important to recognize that even though the meal portion size is small, there is little to no hunger, and little to no feeling of being deprived.

The gastric Bypass provides an excellent tool for gaining long-term control of weight, without the hunger or cravings usually associated with small portions, or with dieting.  Most patients achieve a weight loss of 75-80% of excess body weight, and long-term maintenance of weight loss is very successful.  The success, however, does require adherence to simple and straightforward life style changes.

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