Gastric Bypass Surgery
What is a gastric bypass?
Gastric bypass is a restrictive and malabsorptive weight loss surgery procedure. It restricts the amount of food you can eat and reduces the number of calories (and nutrients) you absorb from food.
There are a number of variations of bypass surgery. The most popular in the UK is called the Roux-en-Y bypass (RYGB). The Roux-en-Y bypass reduces your stomach size and shortens your digestive system.
How does a gastric bypass work?
A gastric bypass works in two ways:
- It creates a small upper stomach pouch and a lower stomach pouch that is no longer used. This effectively reduces your stomach size so you eat small amounts of food.
- It allows the food you eat to bypass the majority of your stomach (the unused lower part of your old stomach) and small intestine so that the food you do eat is not fully digested.
The benefits of gastric bypass surgery are that weight loss tends to be rapid with good long-term results for many, and that patients often see swift improvements in obesity related health conditions. It requires a commitment to changing your eating habits and focussing on nutritious foods. You would need to take vitamins for life and have quarterly vitamin B12 injections. As with any operations, much of the success is dependent on your ability to change your lifestyle. Most patients find that the benefits of working with the operation are worth it and they really enjoy the new weight loss.
How much does a gastric bypass cost?
The typical gastric bypass cost is between £9,500 and £15,000 throughout the UK. At Ramsay Health Care UK, a gastric bypass is very competitively priced from £8995. This gastric bypass package includes: 24 months aftercare that comprises access to a team of specialist bariatric nurses, dieticians and regular medical reviews.
Is a gastric bypass right for me?
So, who can have a gastric bypass? You may be eligible for gastric bypass surgery if:
- Your BMI (body mass index) score is 40 or more.
- Your BMI is 35 or more and you have other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure that may be improved by losing weight.
- You are fit enough to have a general anaesthetic and surgery.
- You are committed to losing weight and maintaining your weight loss through lifestyle and gastric bypass diet changes.
- You have tried to lose weight in other ways such as eating healthily, exercising and taking relevant medicines.
Aftercare and recovery
Initially, you will only be able to have fluids. You will then move on to puréed food and eventually add solid food to your diet. You will be advised to take vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs for a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. You may also need regular injections of vitamin B12 to prevent pernicious anaemia.
Your weight loss surgeon or a dietitian will discuss your gastric bypass diet including changes to the foods and their reduced quantities that you should be consuming. Once you have lost some of your initial excess weight they will also discuss healthier lifestyle options and how to become more active.
Most people take between four and six weeks to make a full recovery after gastric bypass surgery.
Complications and side effects
You may experience some gastric bypass surgery side effects including: bruising, pain and swelling around your wounds, and dumping syndrome if you continue poor eating habits and over eating. Dumping syndrome is common if you eat weight gaining foods high in sugar and fat and can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness and sweating. You will eventually learn to avoid these foods unless you want to experience dumping syndrome symptoms. There are complications associated with any surgery and these will be discussed when you have a consultation with a surgeon.