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Gastric Bypass Surgery (Roux-en-Y)

According to two organizations, the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health, laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (pronounced ROO-en-why) is the most popular bariatric surgery in the United States.

In gastric bypass surgery, a smaller stomach pouch is created as well as a “bypass” for food. The bypass allows food to skip a large part of the small intestines, thereby restricting the body from absorbing as many calories or nutrients. 

Watch an animation of this procedure

  • A 2004 meta-analysis of more than 22,000 patients showed that those who underwent a bariatric surgical procedure experienced complete resolution or improvement of their co-morbid conditions including: diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea
  • 83.7% of type 2 diabetes cases were resolved
  • In the studies analyzed, the control group that didn’t have bariatric surgery was at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes: 3.7 times higher
  • Resolution of type 2 diabetes often occurred within days of the surgery
  • 96.9% of hyperlipidemia cases were resolved
  • 75.4% of hypertension cases were resolved; 87.1% were resolved or improved
  • Substantial weight reduction occurred; 61.6% of excess weight was lost
  • In 2000, a study of 500 patients showed that 96 percent of co-morbidities (the study looked specifically at back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and depression) were improved or resolved
  • A great deal of excess weight was lost, and patients experienced resolution of co-morbidities, and improved appearance, social opportunities, and economic opportunities
Risks and Disadvantages
  • Because the duodenum and other sections of the small intestine are bypassed, poor absorption of iron and calcium can cause low total body iron and a greater chance of having iron-deficiency anemia. Patients who experience chronic blood loss during excessive menstrual flow or bleeding hemorrhoids should be aware of the chance of iron-deficiency anemia. Women, already at risk for osteoporosis that can occur after menopause, should be aware of the possibility of increased bone calcium loss. By taking a multivitamin and calcium supplements, patients can maintain a healthy level of minerals and vitamins
  • Bypassing the duodenum can cause metabolic bone disease in some patients, resulting in bone pain, loss of height, humped back, and fractures of the ribs and hipbones. Eating foods rich in nutrients and taking vitamins can help patients avoid this
  • Chronic anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency may occur. The problem usually can be managed with vitamin B12 pills or injections
  • A condition known as dumping syndrome can occur from eating too much sugar or large amounts of food. While it isn’t considered a serious health risk, the results can be very unpleasant. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and, on occasion, diarrhea. Some patients are unable to eat sugary foods after surgery
  • The bypassed portion of the stomach, duodenum, and parts of the small intestine cannot be seen easily using X-ray or endoscopy if there are problems such as ulcers, bleeding, or malignancy
  • It is a permanent, nonreversible procedure
  • The procedure could result in death

If you are interested in learning more about gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss surgeries, call (585) 922-LINK (5465) to register for one of our free informational seminars.