The laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure. Food enters a smaller stapled stomach (pouch) about the size of your thumb, and bypasses the rest of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. This significantly limits the amount of food a person can eat in one meal and you will absorb fewer nutrients and calories. However, there is risk for some nutritional deficiencies if no changes are made on the diet and/or noncompliance with the recommended lifelong nutritional supplementation.

Laparoscopic Roux-En-Y Gastric BypassThe laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is considered the standard of care by many bariatric surgeons. It has been performed for over 50 years and there are volumes of information available about the risks, benefits and proper indications for its use. The safety of gastric bypass has improved significantly due to the advancement in the technique and technology of laparoscopic surgery. 

Depending on the starting BMI and compliance, the patient may expect to achieve a long-term weight loss of 70-75 percent of their excess weight. Because approximately 30 percent of the patient’s small bowel is bypassed with this procedure it is necessary to supplement a healthy diet with supplements to ensure that the patient’s metabolic needs are being met.

Gastric bypass advantages

  • The average excess weight loss is generally higher in a compliant patient than with purely restrictive procedures. 
  • A minimally invasive approach is the standard
  • 12-18 months after surgery, weight loss can average 70-77 percent of excess body weight. 
  • Longer experience in the U.S.
  • Studies show that after 10 years, 50-60 percent of excess body weight loss has been maintained.
  • Numerous studies have shown that certain obesity related health conditions (back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, etc.) can be improved or resolved.

Gastric bypass disadvantages

  • A portion of digestive tract is bypassed, reducing absorption of some nutrients. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, anemia and possible bone disease.
  • Dumping syndrome” can occur, whereby stomach contents move too rapidly through the small intestine. Symptoms include: nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness and occasional diarrhea after eating. Another possible symptom is the inability to eat sweets without becoming so weak and sweaty that the patient must lie down until the symptoms pass.
  • The bypassed portion of the stomach and upper small intestine cannot be easily visualized using X-ray or endoscopy if problems such as ulcers, bleeding or malignancy should occur.
  • Changes to the intestinal structure can result in the increased risk of gallstone formation and the need for removal of the gallbladder.

Gastric bypass recovery timeline

  • Hospital stay is usually 24-48 hours.
  • Many patients return to normal activity within one to two weeks.
  • Full surgical recovery usually occurs within three weeks.


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