What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery is a treatment that aims to shorten the pathway that the food takes in the body. It reduces the stomach volume and shortens the absorption path of the food.
Gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a type of bariatric surgery designed to help people lose weight and improve obesity-related health conditions. This is achieved by both limiting the amount of food that can be eaten and decreasing the absorption of nutrients.
This surgery both restricts the amount of food you can eat and reduces the absorption of nutrients, leading to weight loss.
- Stomach division: The surgeon divides the stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section using surgical staples. The top part of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go.
- Bypass: The surgeon disconnects the small intestine from the larger part of the stomach and reconnects it to the small stomach pouch. Food will now bypass the larger part of your stomach and part of your small intestine.
- Reconnecting the intestines: The portion of the small intestine still connected to the main stomach is reconnected further down the intestine. This allows the digestive juices produced by the stomach to mix with food in the lower part of the intestine.
After gastric bypass surgery, the stomach pouch can hold significantly less food than the original stomach. This restriction, along with the reduced absorption of calories due to the bypassed part of the small intestine, helps patients lose weight.
It’s important to note that while this procedure can provide significant help in weight loss, it requires a lifelong commitment to dietary changes and regular exercise. It also carries the typical risks associated with surgery, including infection, bleeding, and complications from anesthesia, as well as specific risks such as malnutrition and dumping syndrome (rapid gastric emptying).
Who can have gastric bypass surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery is typically considered for individuals who have not been able to lose weight through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or maintain their weight loss. The procedure is typically recommended for those who are significantly overweight or have serious health problems related to obesity. As of my training data up until September 2021, the general criteria include:
- Body Mass Index (BMI): A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher (extreme obesity), or a BMI of 35-39.9 (obesity) along with serious weight-related health problems.
- Weight-Related Health Problems: These can include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, severe sleep apnea, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and heart disease.
- Previous Unsuccessful Weight Loss Attempts: The patient has tried but failed to lose weight through traditional methods like diet and exercise.
- Understanding and Commitment: The patient should have a clear understanding of the procedure and its risks and benefits. They must also be ready to commit to lifelong changes in their eating and exercise habits after surgery, as well as regular medical follow-ups.
- Psychological Evaluation: Patients may need to undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure they’re mentally prepared for the surgery and its implications.
- No Alcohol or Drug Dependency: If patients are dependent on alcohol or drugs, this needs to be addressed before they can be considered for surgery.
- Absence of Certain Medical Conditions: Certain conditions can increase the risks associated with surgery or prevent a successful outcome. For example, some severe heart and lung diseases could make surgery too risky.
These guidelines can vary somewhat depending on the specific practices of a hospital or surgeon. The decision to have gastric bypass surgery should be made in consultation with a doctor who can thoroughly evaluate the patient’s overall health and readiness for the procedure.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Procedure
Gastric bypass surgery is a complex procedure that requires several steps and typically lasts between two to four hours, although the time can vary based on the specifics of the patient’s situation and the surgeon’s approach. The procedure is typically done under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is asleep and feels no pain. Here’s a general timeline of the procedure:
Prior to the surgery, patients typically need to follow a specific diet for several weeks. This diet helps reduce the size of the liver and the amount of fat around the stomach, making the surgery safer and easier. Also, the patient needs to fast, which means no eating or drinking for a specified period before the surgery.
Day of Surgery
- Anesthesia: At the start of the procedure, the anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia to put the patient asleep.
- Surgery: The surgery itself typically takes between 2 to 4 hours. It begins with the surgeon making either a single large incision in the abdomen (open surgery) or several small incisions (laparoscopic surgery). The surgeon then creates a small pouch from the top of the stomach and connects it directly to the small intestine, bypassing a significant portion of the digestive tract.
- Recovery Room: Immediately after the surgery, the patient spends a few hours in a recovery room under close observation as the anesthesia wears off.
- Hospital Stay: The patient usually stays in the hospital for 2 to 3 days after the surgery.
- Diet and Recovery: Upon discharge, the patient will follow a strict diet plan, which starts with liquids, then progresses to pureed foods, and eventually to a more regular diet over several weeks. The patient will also be encouraged to begin light physical activities, gradually increasing as recovery progresses.
- Follow-up Appointments: Patients will have follow-up appointments with their surgeon to monitor their recovery and weight loss progress. These typically occur a few weeks after surgery, then at regular intervals thereafter.
As with any major surgery, gastric bypass surgery carries risks, including infection, bleeding, and complications from anesthesia, as well as specific risks like malnutrition and dumping syndrome. It’s also important to note that achieving and maintaining weight loss after surgery requires a lifelong commitment to diet changes and regular exercise. It’s crucial to have detailed discussions with your healthcare provider to fully understand these commitments and risks.
Advantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is suggested to people who come under the category of obese people. The advantages of gastric bypass surgery include
Weight Loss: After the surgery, the patients can lose up to 70 percent of their excess weight. As the surgery suppresses the urge to eat more, the body consumes less food leading to weight loss.
Better Health : Excess weight causes a lot of ailment and health issues. However, as gastric bypass surgery helps to reduce weight, it also reduces the risk of many ailments. Hence, one of the major advantages of gastric bypass surgery also includes better health.
Better Eating Habits : Obese people tend to eat in excess that leads to their weight gain. After the surgery, the eating habits of the patient are altered to smaller portions and more frequent meals. Making up for the lost nutrients and following changed dietary patterns also instills better eating habits.
More Energy : After the surgery, the patient feels more energetic and active as all the extra weight has been shed. Thus, an essential advantage of gastric bypass surgery is that it makes people feel more energetic.
Better Appearance : After losing weight, the body size reduces to a noticeable amount giving a better appearance to the person. Improved looks is one of the appreciable advantages of gastric bypass surgery.
Disadvantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Like any medical procedure, there are some potential disadvantages of gastric bypass surgery. The main disadvantage of gastric bypass surgery is saggy skin after the surgery and a few scars due to the cut and stitches. This may be corrected with cosmetic surgery.
Infections in the Wound : As the procedure involves cutting and stitching of the belly, the after care of the wound is necessary. If not taken care of, the wound may catch infections leading to bleeding or pus formation.
Indigestion : As the body will take time to adapt to the new eating habits, indigestion may occur in the beginning.
Bleeding or Blood Clot : There may be bleeding or clots around the wound for initial few days.
Disadvantages of gastric bypass surgery and the complications can be kept minimal by following proper medical advice and following up regularly. Post-surgery diet and exercises must be followed as advised to avoid the disadvantages as much as possible.
Gastric Bypass Surgery in Turkey
Turkey has become a popular destination for medical tourism, including weight-loss surgeries like gastric bypass. This is primarily due to the relatively lower cost of the procedures compared to other countries, particularly those in North America and Western Europe.
While considering gastric bypass surgery in Turkey, here are a few factors to keep in mind:
- Cost-Effective: One of the primary reasons people opt for surgery in Turkey is the cost. The cost of gastric bypass surgery in Turkey is generally much lower compared to countries like the US, UK, or several other European countries. This cost usually includes the surgery, hospital stay, and post-operative care.
- Quality of Care: Many Turkish hospitals and clinics are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and follow international standards of care. Also, Turkey’s healthcare system is known for its high standard of medical professionalism.
- Experienced Surgeons: Turkey has a number of skilled and experienced bariatric surgeons. Many of them have been trained in Western countries and are knowledgeable about the latest surgical techniques.
- All-Inclusive Packages: Many medical tourism agencies and hospitals in Turkey offer all-inclusive packages. These may include the cost of surgery, hospital stay, hotel accommodation, airport transfers, and sometimes even city tours.
- Short Waiting Times: In contrast to many Western countries, waiting times for procedures such as gastric bypass surgery can be significantly shorter in Turkey.
- Travel Opportunities: Turkey is a country rich in history and culture. While the primary goal is healthcare, many patients appreciate the opportunity to explore tourist sites either before surgery or during recovery.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Alternatives
- Gastric sleeve surgery: This is a minimally invasive weight loss surgery that involves removing a large portion of the stomach. This makes the stomach smaller, which helps people eat less and lose weight.
- Swallowable gastric balloon: This is a non-surgical weight loss procedure that involves placing a balloon in the stomach. The balloon takes up space in the stomach and makes the patient feel fuller sooner. This can help people eat less and lose weight.
- Gastric balloon: A balloon is placed in the stomach and filled with saline solution. This takes up space in the stomach and makes the patient feel fuller sooner.
- Mini gastric bypass surgery: This is a less invasive version of gastric bypass surgery. It involves rerouting the digestive system in a similar way, but it is not as extensive as gastric bypass surgery.