When other attempts at weight loss are unsuccessful, gastric bypass surgery may be an option for you. The second most common weight loss surgery, gastric bypass is a procedure that alters how your stomach and small intestine process the food you eat. In a nutshell, the purpose of the surgery is to make you feel full faster so you will eat less and subsequently lose weight. Understanding what’s involved with the procedure and what you’ll need to do to increase your odds of enjoying long-term results can determine whether or not it’s the right approach to weight loss for you.
To learn more about gastric bypass and to ask about other types of weight loss procedures, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Performed under general anesthesia, gastric bypass surgery is a two-step procedure that usually takes two to four hours to perform. The first part of the surgery will physically make your stomach smaller in size by dividing it into a smaller upper section, referred to as a pouch, where your food will go and a larger bottom part. About the size of a walnut, the pouch can safely hold about an ounce of food, which will make you feel full faster.
The next part of the procedure is the bypass, where part of your small intestine will be connected to a small hole in the newly created pouch. The food you consume will then go from the pouch into the newly created opening before going through your small intestine to reduce calorie absorption. The procedure can be done as a traditional open surgery or as a minimally invasive, laparoscopic procedure involving smaller incisions and the use of a tiny camera. Typically, the minimally invasive method translates to a shorter recovery time.
Typically, possible candidates for a gastric bypass much have a body mass index (BMI) over 40. However, the procedure is sometimes recommended for individuals with a BMI ranging from 35 to 39.9 who have at least one serious health issue related to their obesity. Qualifying health issues typically include high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea, which is seen in higher instances in people with weight issues.
While there are some exceptions, weight loss surgery is generally performed on individuals from 16 to 70 years of age who are morbidly obese. During your initial consultation, expect an evaluation of your overall health to determine if a gastric bypass may be beneficial. This process will also include a review of your medical history and your previous attempts at weight loss. You may also be a candidate for a gastric bypass if:
If you’re considered a candidate for the procedure, you’ll likely need to have additional tests to clearly determine your state of health before the surgery. You’ll be encouraged to make sure any co-existing health issue such as type 2 diabetes are under control prior to your scheduled gastric bypass. You’re also likely to receive nutritional counseling and instruction on how to make positive lifestyle changes after the surgery. If you smoke, you’ll be asked to stop several weeks prior to the procedure.
It is important to follow your doctor’s pre-surgery instructions very carefully. These instructions are in place to help you minimize possible complications and see the best possible results.
Most patients stay in the hospital or clinic for two to four days after a gastric bypass. Your initial diet will be liquids to allow your body time to get used to the new setup of your stomach. You may be referred to a dietitian if you prefer dietary recommendations more specific to your needs and preferences. After the initial recovery period from the procedure, most patients are able to eat about 1/4 cup, or 2 ounces, of food per meal. In time, the amount that can be safely consumed during each meal may increase to about a cup of food per meal, with some dietitians recommended those meals include at least 4 ounces of protein. If you’re a woman, it’s recommended that you avoid getting pregnant for at least 18 months to 2 years after your procedure.
It is also important to follow your post-surgical instructions and guidelines carefully in order to prevent complications and see the best results for weight loss.
You’re likely to lose most of your excess weight within two years if you follow dietary guidelines and make the recommended adjustments to your daily routine, which usually includes some type of regular exercise; with 30 minutes of daily activity being a common goal for most patients. It takes about 2-3 months for new behaviors to become habit. Your odds of sticking to your lifestyle changes greatly increase over time.
Most people lose anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of their excess weight within six months of weight loss surgery. Your short-term and long-term results from gastric bypass surgery or any other serious approach to weight loss will depend on your overall commitment to making healthy, productive lifestyle changes. Having realistic expectations going into surgery, such as the fact that your weight loss may taper off slightly before you reach your goal weight, can also help you get the most out of your experience with gastric bypass surgery should it be the right option for you.
To learn more about gastric bypass surgery, contact our office today. We are happy to schedule a free consultation for you so that you can meet Dr. Naim and ask any questions that you may have about the procedure, your expectations, preparation, recovery, and more. Don’t wait another day to take a step toward improving your health with us.
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