During gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon creates a small pouch in the stomach to restrict the intake of food along and creates bypasses in the small intestine and duodenum to decrease the body's ability to absorb nutrients.
There are two kinds of gastric bypass surgeries: Rouxen-Y I, which is performed most often, and Biliopancreatic, a more extensive bypass.
This kind of cosmetic surgery is usually only performed on or recommended to those patients who are morbidly obese and have tried dieting, but to no avail. It is not recommended for people who are only 10 to 30 pounds (5 to 12 kilograms) overweight.
If you have tried and failed to get down to a healthy weight through exercise and diet, if your BMI (body mass index) is 40 or higher or if you have developed health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes because of your weight, then gastric bypass surgery may be for you.
As with all plastic and cosmetic surgeries, this major operation carries with it the same risks as all other major surgeries.
Gastric bypass patients will be prepared through an intensive screening by dieticians, physicians and sometimes therapists. Not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. It is of the utmost importance that you follow your physician's instructions to the letter.
During gastric bypass surgery you will be under general anesthesia and will be unaware of anything. Before you awaken in the recovery room, a small tube is run up your nasal cavity and into the new pouch in your stomach. This tube keeps your stomach empty so that it can properly heal. Normally, the tube is in place for a day. A second tube may be placed in your side and will remain in place for around four to six weeks after surgery.
You will not be allowed to eat for two days after surgery, thus allowing the stomach to heal. Afterwards, you must follow strict dietary guidelines that outline those things you can and cannot eat.
For three to six months after the procedure, you will experience rapid weight loss and possibly any of the following side effects: fatigue, body aches, a feeling of cold, dry skin, mood changes and hair loss.
The main benefit of gastric bypass surgery is in losing weight and maintaining this new healthy weight level. In addition, you will learn healthy and nutritious ways to eat, you will lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and, if you are diabetic, you will get your diabetes under control. Any problems with GERD will diminish, too.
As with any other surgery, the risks of this procedure include death, blood clots in the legs, pneumonia, a possible narrowing of the stomach and small intestine openings, mineral and/or vitamin deficiencies, gall stones, stomach ulcers, a hernia at the site of the incision, intolerance to some foods and dehydration.