Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery, also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a safe and common option for weight loss surgery. The skilled doctors and specialists at MaineHealth provide support and services to patients who qualify for gastric bypass surgery.

What is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery can help patients achieve long-term weight loss. However, before getting surgery, gastric-bypass surgery candidates first need to learn about and understand the surgical procedure. Gastric bypass surgery is done as minimally invasive surgery, with a tiny camera to see inside the belly during the procedure. This causes less pain than traditional surgery and allows for quicker recovery. A portion of the stomach is cut off to make a smaller pouch, which will result in reduced calorie intake and nutrient absorption.

  • People feel full after eating smaller amounts of food.
  • Reduced food intake and decreased absorption results in weight loss.

Patients cannot rely on the surgery alone to achieve their weight-loss goals. For optimal weight loss and maintenance, patients must also maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The greatest weight loss usually occurs in the first year to 18 months after surgery. Patients often lose 50 to 70 percent of excess body weight.

Who is eligible for gastric bypass?

To qualify for gastric bypass, as with other bariatric surgeries, patients must meet certain criteria set by the National Institutes of Health. Talk to your provider to find out if you are a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. Qualifications include:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • A BMI of 35 or greater and at least two obesity-related co-morbidities (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep apnea, etc.)

Gastric bypass benefits

Gastric bypass surgery helps patients with obesity achieve long-term weight loss goals. Some advantages of gastric bypass surgery include:

  • Long-term sustained weight loss
  • Normalized blood sugar levels
  • Reduced cholesterol levels
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Relief from sleep apnea and acid reflux
  • Overall improvements in quality of life.

Gastric bypass: Before surgery

Ask your surgeon for information on risks associated with gastric bypass surgery. Surgeons will require certain visits and evaluations for patients before surgery. Some of these may include:

  • Review of medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Nutrition counseling and education
  • Social work evaluation to ensure your emotional readiness for lifestyle changes
  • Information sessions to learn what happens before, during, and after surgery.

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