Gastric bypass is surgery that helps you lose weight by changing how your stomach and small intestine handle the food you eat.
After the surgery, your stomach will be smaller. You will feel full with less food.
The food you eat will no longer go into some parts of your stomach and small intestine that absorb food. Because of this, your body will not get all of the calories from the food you eat.
You will have general anesthesia before this surgery. You will be asleep and pain-free.
There are 2 steps during gastric bypass surgery:
- The first step makes your stomach smaller. Your surgeon uses staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 1 ounce (oz) or 28 grams (g) of food. Because of this you will eat less and lose weight.
- The second step is the bypass. Your surgeon connects a small part of your small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening and into your small intestine. As a result, your body will absorb fewer calories.
Gastric bypass can be done in two ways. With open surgery, your surgeon makes a large surgical cut to open your belly. The bypass is done by working on your stomach, small intestine, and other organs.
Another way to do this surgery is to use a tiny camera, called a laparoscope. This camera is placed in your belly. The surgery is called laparoscopy. The scope allows the surgeon to see inside your belly.
In laparoscopy surgery:
- The surgeon makes 4 to 6 small cuts in your belly.
- The scope and instruments needed to perform the surgery are inserted through these cuts.
- The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to view inside your belly while doing the operation.
Advantages of laparoscopy over open surgery include:
- Shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery
- Less pain
- Smaller scars and a lower risk for getting a hernia or infection
This surgery takes about 2 to 4 hours.