Central Maine Medical Center
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300 Main Street, Lewiston, ME 04240 | 207-795-0111
Bariatric Surgery - Imagine Tomorrow

Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass Considered Weight Loss Surgery's Gold Standard

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is an operation that both restricts the amount of food that can be eaten and limits the amount of calories and nutrients (fat/protein/carbohydrates) your body absorbs. This helps you lose weight. During the procedure, the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach to restrict the amount of food you can eat, which leaves you with the sensation of feeling full. Next, the pouch is connected to a section of the small intestine, which allows food to bypass the lower stomach and the first two parts of the small intestine. This surgery is considered the gold standard of weight loss surgeries.

Advantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery:

  • Weight loss ranges from 60 to 80 percent of excess body weight, within 6-12 months post-op. Most of the weight is lost in the first year.
  • Average weight loss is higher than with the gastric band or gastric sleeve procedures.
  • Limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time as well as the desire to eat.
  • Most co-morbidities, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and high cholesterol, improve after the surgery, and many are even cured.

A side effect called "dumping syndrome" – in which the contents of the stomach empty rapidly into the small intestine – may occur after gastric bypass. This is a common consequence of eating high-fat,
high-sugar foods. The symptoms of dumping syndrome include sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness and weakness. This is actually a desired side effect of the surgery, since it discourages patients from eating unhealthy foods. Dumping syndrome does not occur in all patients.

Considerations with Gastric Bypass Surgery:

After two years, some patients regain weight they had lost, due to stretching of the pouch and its outlet, often due to not following dietary recommendations. This may result in a return of appetite and loss of satiety (fullness).

Gastric Bypass also causes food to bypass areas of the small intestine that are responsible for absorbing protein, calcium, and certain vitamins. In addition, less iron may be absorbed because of the small size of the new stomach pouch. To avoid nutritional deficiencies, you will need to take daily vitamin and possibly mineral supplements for the rest of your life, including a complete multivitamin twice daily. You will also need to increase the proportion of protein in your diet, since you'll be eating less food overall.

This surgery is very difficult to reverse.

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