Gastric Bypass

This page will provide you with information about gastric bypass surgery. For further details you should speak to your consultant

What is gastric bypass surgery?

This is a procedure that helps with weight loss by reducing the amount of calories absorbed from food, whilst simultaneously helping the patient to feel fuller for longer after smaller meals. There are two ways in which gastric bypass surgery works:

  1. It restricts the capacity of the stomach
  2. It bypasses part of the digestive tract

Why do people choose gastric bypass surgery?

It is particularly suitable for people looking to lose a lot of weight but who find it hard to do so traditionally (by diet and exercise). Some of the reasons behind why people opt for gastric bypass surgery include:

  • Being morbidly obese (a BMI over 40)
  • Having a BMI of 35 or over and also suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes (or another condition with serious health risks)
  • Being unable to lose weight or maintain weight loss from other, non-surgical methods

Being classed as fit to be put under anaesthetic and have surgery, and being able to commit to long-term follow-up care, are other factors taken into account prior to gastric bypass surgery.

What are some of the benefits to gastric bypass surgery?

The biggest benefit to gastric bypass surgery is the weight loss associated with it. Other benefits experienced include:

  • Better health
  • More mobility
  • More self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Less chance of suffering from obesity-related health risks

What will happen during the operation?

A small portion of stomach will be sectioned off using staples; a piece of the intestine will then be attached to this portion, which will bypass the rest of the stomach as well as the upper portion of the intestine – this means food bypasses the areas where most nutrients and calories are absorbed. As the sectioned-off stomach portion is small, it fills up with food quicker leading to a feeling of fullness after only a small amount of food is consumed. The food then directly enters the middle section of the small intestine; as the digestive system has been shortened, this means fewer calories are absorbed.

What is aftercare like?

Most patients stay in hospital for three days or so after the surgery. During this time hospital staff will ensure the patient is fit and healthy and ready to return home.