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What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

You have probably heard of gastric bypass surgery but do you know what it is? Gastric bypass surgery or gastric bypass (GBP) is a group of surgical procedures meant for morbidly obese people to get rid of excess fatty tissue and to therefore decrease the health problems associated with being obese.

What does Gastric bypass surgery do?

Gastric bypass surgery is done to make the stomach a smaller size and to make it possible for food to bypass a portion of the duodenum and the small intestine. By so doing this causes malabsorption, which means that there is a lessened ability for nutrients to be absorbed from the food that has been eaten. A person who has undergone gastric bypass surgery must eat less than they did before the surgery and they are more limited in the foods and beverages they can consume. The stomach of a patient who has this surgery will reach full capacity quicker than they did before which will send a message to the brain that no more food is needed. This helps decrease the quantity of food the person eats and therefore allows them to take in fewer calories.

Types of gastric bypass operations

The two most commonly undertaken forms of gastric bypass surgeries include the Roux-en Y gastric bypass (RGB) and the Extensive gastric bypass (biliopancreatic diversion). By far the former is performed on patients in the United States more often than the latter.

When a Roux-en Y bypass is done the stomach is made surgically smaller by making a small pouch at the top end of the stomach using a plastic band, or surgical staples. Once this is done, the stomach is then attached to the middle part of the small intestine and this enables food to bypass the remainder of the stomach as well as the duodenum (otherwise known as the upper part of the small intestine).

The Roux-en Y bypass can be done in one of two ways. The open procedure involves a large incision being made in the abdomen while the laparoscopic method involves a small incision being made in the abdomen and then tiny medical instruments being used with the help of a camera that acts as a guide for the entire procedure.

As the name implies, the Extensive gastric bypass is more complicated than the Roux-en Y bypass surgery. In this case the lower half of the stomach is taken out all together. Next the small pouch of the stomach that remains intact is attached directly to the bottom portion of the small intestine and this enables both the duodenum and the jejunum to be bypassed and left alone. While this procedure is highly successful when it comes to weight loss, it is not commonly undertaken as it can lead to a great number of nutritional deficiencies, which can in turn usher in a number of problems for the patient. In most cases people who undergo gastric bypass surgery will lose approximately two thirds of their extra weight during the two years that follow their surgery.

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