A Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure is a surgical technique in which the stomach is divided into one small pouch and the remaining larger portion. The surgeon attaches the small pouch directly to the middle of the small intestine, skipping the area of the duodenum. By doing this, the patient feels full much faster because the small pouch can only hold about one ounce of food or beverage, compared to up to 3 pints that a typical adult sized stomach can hold.
The amount of fat that the body can absorb is also reduced, because this function is typically performed by the duodenum. The digestive process does not take as long after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is performed. This means that the patient can eat very small meals every couple of hours in order to meet his or her nutritional requirements as determined by a physician and dietician.
There are many types of weight loss procedures, and the Roux-en-Y may be a good choice for many patients, while other types of procedures may be best for other patients. Talk to your doctor about your current health, medical history, and weight loss struggles in order to determine the best option for your weight loss goals.
People who are morbidly obese or who are obese and suffer from a concurrent health problem such as diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or severe joint pain may benefit from having a Roux-en-Y procedure.
Obesity is known to lower a person’s quality of life and is often a contributing factor to disability and premature death. By having a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a patient may be able to improve his or her quality of life and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. A physician might suggest the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure if a patient has a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 or a BMI greater than 35, plus an additional serious health condition such as sleep apnea, arteriosclerosis, or advanced arthritis. For men, this generally means being about 100 pounds or more over the recommended weight range, while for women it means weighing about 80 pounds above the recommended weight range for their height. Doctors often wait to recommend a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure until after the patient has already tried and failed at more conservative weight loss measures, such as following a dietician’s nutritional plan and working with a personal trainer to lose weight.
The Roux-en-Y procedure is not the best option for every patient. Some patients should not undergo weight loss procedures, while others may benefit more from a different procedure method.
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is performed by a gastroenterologist, although other surgeons, an anesthesiologist and a team of nurses will assist during the procedure. To perform a Roux-en-Y procedure, the gastroenterologist either uses a laparoscopic or large incision to open the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopic procedures are the most commonly used technique because the incision is small and the patient spends less time in the hospital after the procedure. The healing time is also faster for a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
During the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, the patient is given general anesthesia. The medication in the anesthesia often combines a muscle relaxant, sedative, and pain reliever. The surgeon then creates the pouch that bypasses most of the stomach and the beginning portions of the small intestine. The patient’s vital signs are monitored throughout the duration of the surgery, which usually takes several hours. Most patients stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery to make sure that no complications develop.
What you should expect is dependent upon your specific procedure approach. Your doctor will tell you what you should expect from your procedure.
Before a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, most doctors will recommend lab tests to check for nutritional deficiencies and other medical issues. The doctors may recommend pre-surgical counseling for diet and nutrition. Patients are often asked to stop smoking and avoid the use of certain medications such as aspirin and blood thinners for a few weeks before the Roux-en-Y procedure. Most patients will need to complete an educational program before the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass so that they know what to expect after the procedure.
Your exact steps for preparation are dependent on your specific situation and how your doctor plans to perform your surgery. Be sure to follow all of the instructions that your doctor provides very closely in order to minimize negative effects and to encourage a smooth procedure.
For the first 24 hours after surgery, most patients will be given intravenous nutrition. During the first 6 weeks after the surgery, patients must usually adhere to a primarily liquid diet. After this time, patients can transition to soft foods.
About 12 weeks after surgery, most patients are able to begin eating small amounts of their preferred foods. Patients may need regular lab tests to make sure that they do not have any vitamin or nutritional deficiencies. If any are found, the physician may prescribe a supplement to resolve them. The initial weight loss occurs quickly and many patients lose up to 10 pounds per week. As the recovery from Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery continues past the six month mark, the weight loss will slow. Ongoing dietary counseling and increased physical activity will help to ensure that patients achieve their weight loss goals after a Roux-en-Y procedure.
The results that you experience following the procedure are dependent on how closely you follow your doctor’s instructions. Although no results are guaranteed, you are more likely to experience weight loss if you are following all of your dietary and post-surgical instructions.
Contact our office today to learn more about the Roux-en-Y procedure and to schedule a free consultation, where we can help you determine the best next steps for your health.
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