The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, often called gastric bypass, has been performed for more than 50 years. It is one of the most common operations and is very effective in treating obesity and obesity-related diseases. The name is a French term meaning "in the form of a Y."
Gastric bypass surgery starts with the stomach being divided into a smaller top portion (pouch), which is about the size of an egg. The larger part of the stomach is bypassed and no longer stores or digests food.
The small intestine is also divided and connected to the new stomach pouch to allow food to pass. The small bowel segment, which empties the bypassed or larger stomach is connected into the small bowel approximately three to four feet downstream, resulting in a bowel connection resembling the letter Y.
Eventually, the stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and first portion of the small intestine will mix with food that is eaten.
Like many bariatric surgeries, the newly created stomach pouch is smaller and able to hold less food, which means fewer calories are ingested. Additionally, the food does not meet the first portion of the small bowel, and this results in decreased absorption. The modification of the food course through the gastrointestinal tract can decrease hunger, increase fullness, and allow the body to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
The impact on hormones and metabolic health often results in the improvement of adult-onset diabetes even before any weight loss occurs. The operation also helps patients with reflux (heartburn) and often the symptoms quickly improve. Along with making appropriate food choices, patients should avoid tobacco products and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Reliable and long-lasting weight loss
- Effective for remission of obesity-associated conditions
- May help improve quality of life by reducing physical limitations, increasing mobility and improving self-esteem and body image
- May have positive impact on metabolic health
- Refined and standardized technique
- Technically more complex when compared to sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band
- More vitamin and mineral deficiencies than sleeve gastrectomy or gastric banding
- Risk of small bowel complications and obstruction
- Risk of developing ulcers, especially with NSAID or tobacco use
- May cause "dumping syndrome", a feeling of sickness after eating or drinking, especially sweets
Watch the video below to learn more about Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.