Gastric Bypass: What it is and How it's Done

Gastric Bypass: What it is and How it's Done
Gastric bypass is a measure taken by those who need to make a drastic change to their health. Improving the quality of life, being able to participate in physical activities, and avoiding complications from an organism weakened by obesity are among the goals.

This medical procedure is not only aimed at groups of people with overweight or obesity. Additionally, a series of criteria must be strictly met before and after the surgery.

The surgery itself is not high-risk, but to have excellent recovery, it is necessary to know what should be done at all stages of the operation. In this post, you will learn what a gastric bypass is, who it is indicated for, and what is needed in pre- and post-operative care!

What is the gastric bypass?
The Gastric Bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y Gastroplasty, involves the patient undergoing a staple of part of the stomach, which reduces the space for food, and a diversion of the initial intestine, which promotes the increase of hormones that give satiety and decrease hunger. This combination of lower food intake and increased satiety leads to weight loss, as well as controlling diabetes and other diseases such as high blood pressure.

Fun fact: the stitch of the diverted intestine has a shape similar to the letter Y, hence its origin. Roux is the surname of the surgeon who created the technique.

What are the results of bariatric surgery?
The gastric bypass reduces weight by up to 10% in the first month. Following all medical recommendations, an average of 15% to 70% is lost throughout life after the surgery.

Bariatric surgery is an effective and safe treatment for obesity, as it improves the quality of life and most of the associated comorbidities.

For whom is gastric bypass surgery indicated?
Gastric bypass surgery is indicated for certain groups of people, including:

  • Obese individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40;

  • Individuals with a BMI of over 35 who have comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, herniated disk, among other health issues that significantly reduce life expectancy.

What are the preoperative precautions?
Here are the main precautions to take before undergoing bariatric surgery:
  • Research the background of the surgeon;
  • Visit the clinic or hospital where the surgery will be performed;
  • Undergo all preoperative check-ups;
  • Lose up to 10% of your weight in the months prior to the surgery for more clinical safety—the body is better prepared;
  • Consult with the anesthesiologist to check for possible risks and restrictions;
  • Have a balanced diet for at least 15 days before the surgery;
  • Smokers should quit smoking up to 30 days before the operation;
  • Participate in consultations with a multidisciplinary team—psychologist, psychiatrist, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist, nutritionist, and others as necessary.

What are the postoperative precautions?
While some measures must be taken for a short period of time after surgery, others must be maintained for life. Each one with its action to keep the weight as controlled as possible.

After the procedure, the patient is typically hospitalized for 3 to 5 days for monitoring until discharge. After this period, it is necessary to rest for at least 1 month.

Rest also requires the use of an abdominal belt, which prevents the stitches or clips from loosening. Within this time frame, it is not necessary to be completely immobile. Light walks around the house or even outside can be taken.

During the first 6 weeks after gastric bypass surgery, the diet must be divided into:
  • For 15 days: liquid diet;
  • After the 15th day: pureed diet;
  • As soon as allowed by the medical team: gradual solid diet.

In addition, within the diet plan for those who undergo gastric bypass surgery, it is recommended to avoid carbonated drinks and sugary drinks as much as possible, as well as fatty and acidic foods such as pork, pineapple, and lemon.

Take medications
Follow your medical prescriptions correctly, the use of medications after the surgery will be recommended according to your needs and medical protocol.

Women should stop menstruating
Women who undergo gastric bypass surgery need to stop their menstrual cycle with contraceptives or an intrauterine device (IUD). This is necessary because, with low nutrient absorption, especially iron, combined with the loss of blood from menstruation, women are at high risk of having chronic anemia. And, there is a further complication: the reduction surgery itself can cause the menstrual cycle to increase.

Have a multidisciplinary team accompany you
A team of doctors that includes a psychologist, psychiatrist, endocrinologist, among other professionals, should follow the patient's evolution. In order to monitor and, if necessary, intervene with medications, to keep the person's health stable.

The impact of stomach reduction is great, and requires all of these and other specific care, recommended by professionals. And the indications vary from person to person. Therefore, it is essential to take them as rules.

Thus, the recovery of the organism will be fast and the patient will run less risk of regaining weight after gastric bypass surgery. Something common that happens with people who do not strictly follow medical recommendations.