Gastric bypass is a type of bariatric surgery that allows obese individuals to lose weight. Usually bariatric surgeries can be classified into two main types of procedures- restrictive and malabsorptive. Restrictive Bariatric Surgery is less invasive than the Malabsorptive Bariatric Surgery, but of course, malabsorptive shows better results. Gastric bypass is an interesting subcategory of bariatric surgery as it combines both a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure to allow the patient to lose a hefty amount of weight.
Let us go over the basic steps involved in a gastric bypass to understand why it is the most popular form of weight loss surgery today.
Eligibility for Gastric Bypass – Bariatric Surgery
Like any other bariatric surgery, this Gastric Bypass procedure only applies to those who are “severely overweight”. To be severely overweight, or obese, a patient must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. It may also be the case that the BMI of the patient is between 35-40 and the patient is still eligible for this surgery. This is a special case scenario whereby the BMI mark may be lower if the patient has additional weight related problems like type-2 diabetes, sleep apnea or high blood pressure.
While there is no specific age to undergo this procedure, it is recommended that the patient be over the age of 18, and under the age of 60 to avoid later complications. Another benefit to doing this Gastric Bypass surgery after turning 18 is to be able to first try natural means such as exercise to get rid of the excess weight. Teenagers can lose weight easily as they are more active in their younger years and can gain metabolism quickly.
The Basics of Gastric Bypass Surgery
As mentioned earlier, this surgery is neither restrictive nor malabsorptive, it is a mix of the two. Gastric bypass is performed in two steps,which allows it to be more invasive than a regular restrictive procedure.
In the first step, the surgeons work on reducing the size of the stomach. This is done through diving the stomach into two sections. The top pouch is much smaller than the rest of the stomach. Once these pouches are created, the top pouch is bypassed directly to the intestines. So not only is the size of the stomach smaller, but the bypass keeps the body from absorbing too many calories. This way the body is allowed to lose weight through a two-pronged approach.
With the development of technology, this procedure that previously required the surgeon to cut open the patient, can now be administered laparoscopically. Laparoscopes are tiny cameras that can provide the doctor with a clear vision of the insides of a patient without having to directly see it.
Through the presence of this technology instead of making one big cut across the belly, the surgeon can do with 4-6 small incisions. The laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions and the remaining incisions are used to do the procedure. This method is a lot less invasive and reduces the recovery time of the patient substantially. Furthermore, laparoscopy helps avoid many of the complications faced by the regular method of surgery.