Gastric bypass is the most common operation for weight loss in the United States with approximately 140,000 surgeries being carried out annually. Performed for more than 50 years, a lot of surgeons have grown up with gastric bypass surgery and have an excellent understanding of its risks and benefits.
Gastric bypass surgery is the last option when other types of weight loss and dieting have proved unsuccessful and where you are much overweight.
This commonly means that you have a body mass index (BMI) over 40, or over 35 with an accompanying condition which raises the risk of premature death or disability. Those conditions can include heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and liver disease among others. Put simply, this means being some 100 pounds more than your ideal weight.
The principle behind the gastric bypass procedure is quite simply to bring down the effective size of the stomach and to bypass the greater portion of the stomach, together with part of the intestine, curbing your ability to eat too much and also reducing the body’s absorption of the food that is consumed.
Though open gastric bypass surgery is still frequently done an increasing number of surgeons are turning to the laparoscopic gastric bypass and, although this requires considerable training and expertise on the surgeon’s part, there are considerable advantages to this approach. Here are just some:
- This form of surgery enables greater precision since surgery is performed under magnification and surgeons can see details that are not visible during open surgery.
- As just about 5 small incisions during this form of procedure the healing time following surgery is very much reduced, together with the possibility of infection and of suffering a hernia.
- As patients are on their feet rapidly there is a lower risk of blood clots, pneumonia, bed sores and other complications frequently associated with immobility.
- There is much less post-operative pain and what little pain there is requires only mild painkillers such as paracetamol and codeine.
- As the laparoscopic procedure is faster than traditional open surgery the patient spends less time in the operating theatre and requires less anesthesia, creating fewer anesthesia-related complications.
- This form of surgery permits you to go back to work in a relatively short timescale, generally as little as one week although it is recommended that patients do not go back to work for about two weeks to be on the safe side.
The laparoscopic gastric bypass produces a significant improvement in the quality of life for patients and also has the added benefit of improving, or in some cases of curing a wide range of complaints including heartburn, diabetes, arthritis, venous status disease, hypertension and other disorders.
The fact that the procedure itself can now be performed so much more easily and leave patients almost pain free and have them on their feet and up and about very quickly means that more people are likely to opt for gastric bypass surgery and enjoy a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Indeed, as medical science continues to advance and we see increasing use of such things as the technology of robotic surgery the outlook for patients can only get brighter.