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Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass 

Introduction
Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that is used to help people with significant obesity lose weight.  The surgery reduces the size of the stomach and reroutes the small intestine.  As a result, people feel full sooner and eat less.  The new route of the small intestine decreases the amount of calories that are absorbed during the digestive process.  Following laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, most people lose about 10 pounds per month.  However, you must strictly adhere to nutrition and exercise guidelines to avoid complications.

The negative effects of obesity are well documented.  Obesity is an epidemic among Americans and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health complications.  Gastric bypass surgery is for people that are severely obese and have not been successful with dieting and exercise to lose weight.  Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is an alternative to open traditional surgery methods.

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is performed with a laparoscope.  A laparoscope is a thin viewing instrument with a miniature camera at the end.  The laparoscope is inserted through small incisions.  The camera transmits images to a video screen, which a surgeon uses to guide the surgery.  Thin surgical instruments are passed through the incisions to perform the procedure.  Because only small incisions are necessary for laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, this procedure is associated with less pain, less bleeding, fewer complications, and a quicker recovery than traditional gastric bypass surgical methods. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is also associated with a decreased need for follow-up surgeries.

Not everyone is a candidate for laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery.  The procedure is best suited for people that weigh less than 350 lbs.  Your doctor can determine which surgical method is best for you.  There are risks with any method of gastric bypass surgery, and your doctor will review them with you.

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Treatment
You will receive a thorough physical and mental health examination prior to surgery.  You must be ready to commit to careful nutritional intake and exercise following surgery.  You will work with a nutritionist to learn about healthy eating before and after your procedure.

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is performed with general anesthesia.  Your surgeon will make several small incisions to insert and reposition the laparoscope during your procedure.  The surgery consists of a few steps.  First, your surgeon will make your stomach smaller by dividing it with surgical staples.  Your new stomach “the pouch” will only hold small amounts of food.

The second step entails rerouting the small intestine.  Normally, the first part of the small intestine is connected to the bottom of the stomach and functions to absorb calories and nutrients.  With surgery, the first part of the small intestine is bypassed so that fewer calories are absorbed to increase weight reduction.  Instead, the new pouch is connected to the second part of the small intestine, called a Roux limb.  Finally, the Roux limb is attached to the end of the first part of the small intestine so that digestive juices from the bottom of the stomach can aid in digestion. 

You will need to stay in the hospital a few days following your surgery.  Because laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is minimally invasive, you can expect less pain, less bleeding, fewer complications, and a quicker recovery time than with traditional gastric bypass surgery methods.  The laparoscopic procedure will allow you to get out of bed and begin walking earlier.

It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully following your laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure.  You will need to eat liquid or pureed food for several weeks and gradually advance to eating solid foods.  Initially, your new pouch will only hold about a tablespoon of food but will expand to contain about a cup of food.  You should consume liquids and solid food separately and avoid food that is high in fat or carbohydrates.  You should not drink alcohol.

You can resume exercising about six weeks after your procedure. You will need to attend all of your follow-up visits.  Your doctor and nutritionist will monitor your weight loss progress.  It can be helpful to attend a support group.  Most people attain significant weight loss after about 1 ½ to 2 years.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.