Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is the most common type of weight loss surgery and has been around since the 1960’s. A “gastric bypass” creates surgical changes to your stomach and digestive system, limiting how much food you can eat and how many nutrients you can absorb, leading to weight loss.
Gastric Bypass surgery is performed using a cutting and stapling device that separates a small piece of the stomach (known as the "pouch") from the rest of the stomach. The pouch is then connected to the lower portion of the digestive tract bypassing the remaining part of the original stomach. This procedure restricts food consumption and reduces absorption of certain sugars, fats, proteins, or vitamins from food.
When gastric bypass is performed using the “open surgery” approach, an incision is made in the abdomen extending from just below the sternum to an area slightly below the belly button.
Minimally Invasive Gastric Bypass Surgery
The “laparoscopic,” or minimally-invasive approach, follows the same guidelines as the “open surgery” approach, but is performed internally. Using five small keyhole-sized incisions, the bariatric surgeon relies on a camera that is inserted into one of the incisions to see inside the body, while using several small instruments inserted through the other incisions to perform the procedure.
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Video: how does it work?
Watch this video animation demonstrating how the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass procedure is performed.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery
Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery offers many potential benefits. Typically, patients experience shorter recovery times and less scarring with the laparoscopic method, as opposed to traditional open surgery. However, it is important to understand that laparoscopic surgery is not appropriate for every patient. In some cases, surgeons will not know if they can perform the procedure laparoscopically until the surgery is already underway. Various medical conditions may make laparoscopic surgery unsafe for certain patients.
Gastric Bypass Risks and Considerations
Gastric bypass surgery isn't for everyone. Like any major procedure, there are significant health risks and side effects that must be taken into consideration. In addition, the long-term success of gastric bypass surgery depends on your ability to make permanent lifestyle changes. To be considered for gastric bypass surgery, you must undergo a thorough medical and psychological evaluation to determine if it's appropriate for your situation.
Guidelines to qualify for gastric bypass surgery
Gastric bypass and other weight loss surgeries are major, life-changing procedures. While weight loss surgery can help reduce your risk of weight-related health problems — such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea — it can also pose major risks and complications. You will need to meet certain medical guidelines to qualify for weight loss surgery. You will likely undergo an extensive screening process to determine if you qualify.
In general, gastric bypass and other weight loss surgeries could be an option for you if your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher (extreme obesity) and efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful
Does insurance cover gastric bypass surgery?
Different health insurance providers have distinct requirements to prove a medical need for gastric bypass surgery. Your insurance provider may not cover gastric bypass surgery at all or may cover only part of the process. To avoid unpleasant financial surprises, let our expert insurance team confirm your bariatric coverage with a Free Insurance Verification.
What to expect after gastric bypass
Gastric bypass surgery isn't a miracle procedure — and it isn't for everyone. Having gastric bypass or other weight loss surgeries does not guarantee you'll lose all your excess weight or that you'll be able to keep it off over the long term. Bariatric surgery is also not an alternative to making changes in your diet and exercise habits. In fact, you can regain the weight lost with gastric bypass surgery if you don't stick with the lifestyle changes. If you think gastric bypass surgery might be right for you, start by discussing it with your Patient Advocate at your Free Individual Appointment.