Gastric Bypass Surgery - called Roux-en-Y (pronounced “roo-en-why”) Surgery –uses two techniques to help produce long-term weight loss. It is “restrictive” in that it makes your stomach smaller, limiting the amount of food you need to feel full. It is also “malabsorptive,” because it bypasses a major portion of your small intestine where calories are absorbed. Combined, these techniques help lead to weight loss.
First, the stomach is reduced in size by using surgical staples. This new smaller stomach (or pouch) is only able to hold a few ounces of food at one time. Next, a Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch, allowing food to bypass the lower stomach. Bypassing the two segments of the small intestine, known as the duodenum and part of the jejunum, allows the body to reduce the amount of calories and nutrients it absorbs.
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery is considered the "gold standard" of weight loss surgery. In fact, it’s the most commonly performed bypass surgery in the U.S. Its superior long-term results, minimal and controllable side effects, and resolution or elimination of co-morbidities have made it the choice for many patients. In most cases, we recommend a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) procedure, using a tiny telescope-like camera that’s inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to guide the surgeon. The laparoscopic method is commonly used today, because it offers many advantages, such as less scarring, less pain and lower risk for wound infections and hernias.
With Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery, you will be required to make a lifelong commitment to changing your diet. You will no longer be able to engage in your usual eating habits, since the reduced size of your stomach pouch will only have enough capacity to hold a few ounces of food at one time. Making good food choices will also be critical to your success.
Because of the malabsorptive aspect of the procedure, you’ll need to be sure to consume adequate amounts of proteins. Strict adherence to vitamin supplements will also be necessary. And you will need to avoid sweets and fatty foods as much as possible. The dietitians and pharmacist on our weight loss team can work with you to put together a program that will help you meet your goals.
Before you decide whether Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery is your best option, you should consider both its advantages and disadvantages.