The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure has long been considered the gold standard for weight loss surgery, and it is a very successful type of bariatric surgery. The gastric bypass combines both a restrictive component and a malabsorptive component, which work together to help your body achieve weight loss.

What happens during a gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass is usually a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, which means your surgeon will create very small incisions to allow abdominal access with small instruments. This leads to reduced pain and scarring and faster recovery times. On very rare occasions a planned laparoscopic procedure may be converted to an "open,” non-laparoscopic procedure for safety reasons.

During the surgery, your surgeon will create a new, smaller stomach pouch to restrict your food intake. This part of the surgery is called a ‘restriction’ because it limits the volume of food you can intake, and creates a sense of satiety (fullness).

Next, a Y-shaped section of your small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), and the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). This bypass is the malabsorptive component of the surgery, which means it reduces the amount of calories and nutrients your body absorbs. This contributes to your post-surgery weight loss.

After your weight loss surgery

After surgery, patients who have had a gastric bypass procedure typically experience an early sense of fullness and profound appetite satisfaction after minimal meal volumes. In fact, during the first 6 – 12 months patients rarely, if ever, feel the hunger sensation. Most people are generally full from a one or two ounce meal portion. After six months, people can expect to be full with 3 – 6 ounce servings. Despite small portion sizes, patients are rarely hungry and do not feel deprived.

On average, more than half of gastric bypass patients lose 70 percent or more of their extra weight before beginning to maintain. Long-term success is dependent upon incorporating new rules for eating and food selection, which is taught in the follow-up period after surgery through our extensive classes and support groups.

Advantages of gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is known as the gold standard of weight loss surgery, for good reason. The advantages of this type of procedure include:

  • Minimally invasive weight loss surgery: Almost always performed laparoscopically (without large incisions), which results in faster healing, less pain and scarring, and faster recovery
  • Restriction: most restrictive weight loss procedure, leading to greatest potential weight loss
  • Malabsorption: surgery also generates weight loss by reducing absorption of calories
  • Excellent long-term results: Safe, reliable, effective, proven
  • Gold standard: 50 years of surgical weight loss success
  • Revisions: If necessary, it may be reversible (however, reversal is not a simple procedure)

Possible complications and side effects

Some potential complications to gastric bypass surgery may include nausea/vomiting, dumping syndrome, small bowel obstructions, dehydration, blood clots or bleeding and other complications generally noted with surgical procedures.

The gastric bypass is the one of the most common and successful types of restrictive and malabsorptive weight loss surgeries. There may be some ability to adjust or even reverse this procedure.