Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a very popular type of bariatric surgery that alters the course of the digestive tract, bypassing a portion of the lower intestine to decrease the amount of calories that are consumed, processed and absorbed by the body.
During the surgery, the stomach is divided into two sections – a larger section and a smaller section. This smaller pouch is about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, significantly reducing the amount of calories that are consumed. The end of the small pouch is disconnected or separated from the upper portion of the small intestine and reattached farther along the intestine to bypass the area of the upper part of the small intestine where most digestion and caloric absorption occurs. Because of this “two-pronged” approach, gastric bypass surgery is considered both a restrictive and a malabsorptive form of weight-loss surgery. Gastric bypass surgery uses a laparoscopic technique, a minimally-invasive approach that uses smaller incisions for less tissue trauma, fewer complications and a faster recovery period.
Gastric bypass surgery can be an excellent choice for many patients, but it is not ideal for every patient. Generally speaking, gastric bypass can be a good option for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or for those who have a BMI between 35 and 40 and who also have a weight-related medical condition like sleep apnea, heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Prior to surgery, patients will have an opportunity to ask questions and to learn about the risks and benefits of gastric bypass surgery as well as other surgical and non-surgical weight-loss options that can help them achieve their weight-loss goals.