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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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