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Learn About Gastric Bypass

This method of laparoscopic bariatric surgery also limits the amount of food you can eat. It changes your digestive system by transecting the stomach to create a very small stomach pouch.

The food then passes out of the pouch through a small opening into the small intestine. Most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine are bypassed by the food.

Thus, the operation is termed a "gastric bypass with Roux-en-Y gastrojejunostomy." The point where the bile and pancreatic secretions are returned to mix with the ingested food is placed several feet down from the stomach. (If the gallbladder is diseased, it may be removed during the operation.)

The operation is usually done with laparoscopic instruments through several small incisions, using specialized instruments.

Occasionally, it requires an incision from the breastbone to just above the umbilicus in order to gain access to internal organs. If for whatever reason, the operation cannot be safely completed using the small incisions, the abdomen will be opened, and the operation will be completed as an open procedure. Not every patient is a candidate for the laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure.

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is not right for you if:

  1. You have had a malignancy within the last 5 years.
  2. You have any of the medical conditions that would make an operation too risky.
  3. You have had extensive abdominal surgery

Gastric bypass patients have typically lost about 61 percent of their excess weight.

Gastric bypass patients often are able to:

  • Leave the hospital after two days
  • Return to work after 21 days

Potential Concerns of Gastric Bypass Surgery

  • A condition known as dumping syndrome can occur from eating high-fat, high-sugar foods. While it isn't considered a health risk, the results can be unpleasant and may include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and diarrhea.
  • Patients must supplement their diet with a daily multivitamin and calcium. Patients must take vitamin B12 and iron.

Why Would I Have an Open Procedure?
In some patients, the laparoscopic-or minimally invasive-approach to surgery cannot be used. You may have an open procedure (or your surgeon may switch during the procedure from laparoscopic to open) if:

  • Prior abdominal surgery that has caused dense scar tissue
  • The surgeon is unable to see organs
  • There are bleeding problems during the operation

Based on patient safety, the decision to perform the open procedure is a judgment made by your surgeon either before or during the actual operation.

WakeMed’s dedicated bariatric surgeons perform minimally invasive weight loss surgeries at WakeMed Cary Hospital, an accredited MBSAQIP Comprehensive Center.  WakeMed Cary Hospital is also designated a Cigna Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery and a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.