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Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass: Surgery, Risks, Side Effects & Results

Are you considering undergoing a gastric bypass for weight loss?

The purpose of this article is to provide you with the necessary information to make an appropriate and informed decision as to whether you wish to proceed with a gastric bypass.

What is a gastric bypass?

Gastric bypass (or roux-en-Y gastric bypass) is a weight loss procedure performed with a laprascope used to create a small pouch in the stomach for food to pass through which is connected directly to the small intestine.

After the surgery, when you eat your food will go straight into the small pouch, bypassing the majority of your stomach into the small intestine restricting the amount of calories your body absorbs.

A gastric bypass is a common longstanding procedure performed around the world, particularly in the United States of America.

Weight loss with the gastric bypass averages between 65 to 75% of excess weight.

The health problems associated with excess weight and quality of life are improved and these benefits can be achieved well before you have achieved your maximum weight loss.

Gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity

Morbid obesity is a disease that often has multiple associated medical illnesses and is associated with a significant decrease in life expectancy. Many of these can be reversed with significant long term weight loss.

Evidence demonstrates that for the great majority of the morbidly obese, diet/exercise/medications including medically supervised medications/diets have a high failure rate and that bariatric surgery is the most effective long term way to achieve significant weight loss in these patients.

The risks of a non-surgical approach to your morbid obesity is a very high failure rate with increased weight gain in the longer term leading to higher risk of obesity-related medical illness and decreased life expectancy.

Gastric bypass vs. gastric band and gastric sleeve

Other bariatric procedures available in the practice including gastric band and gastric sleeve.

All of these procedures are designed as tools to help you to lose your excess weight, making you healthier and hopefully improving your quality of life.

Gastric band

The gastric band restricts the size of your stomach to about 30 mL with an adjustable silicone band. The band can be adjusted by injecting saline into a port which sits underneath your skin below your breast bone.

Weight loss occurs by restricting your dietary intake. The stomach is not altered in any way. It is the safest and least invasive of the bariatric procedures on offer.

Weight loss is more gradual than the other procedures and, as with all the procedures, weight loss can be circumvented by consuming sufficient amounts of high calorie liquid or food. In addition, having the band either too lose or too tight can lead to long term problems.

When closely monitored and adjusted appropriately, the gastric band can achieve weight loss on the average of 65% excess weight over a two to five year period.

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Gastric Bypass

‘9 Things I Wish I Knew About Gastric Bypass Surgery Before I Had It’

“I wasn’t hungry, but I still wanted to eat.”

Elizabeth Wolinsky was 29 in early 2011 when she decided to have LAP-BAND surgery. Although she wasn’t suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other obesity-linked conditions that lead many women to consider bariatric surgery, she was tired of the number on the scale. “I’ve struggled with weight my entire life it’s always been something I wanted to do,” she says.

Unfortunately, the procedure—which creates a smaller stomach “pouch” by placing an inflatable band around the upper portion of the stomach—didn’t turn out exactly as she hoped. While she did lose a lot of weight, about a year and a half later the band eroded into her stomach. In other words, her body tried to reject the band by building up scar tissue around it, which is one of the possible (yet rare) risks of the surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “I couldn’t eat or drink anything because there was all this scar tissue building up around the band,” says Wolinsky. “It was making the band really tight, and I threw up for weeks.” In the middle of 2013, she had emergency surgery to remove the band.

Within eight months, Wolinsky regained all weight she lost—and then some. At 345 pounds, “I’d had enough,” she says. “I had a long conversation with my doctor about gastric bypass versus the band, and after doing a lot of research, I knew 100 percent that I wanted to do it.”

Despite the complications with her prior surgery, Wolinsky says she wasn’t too worried. With gastric bypass, the size of the stomach is decreased by creating a small pouch where the top portion of the stomach is divided from the rest of the stomach, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The small intestine is then divided and connected to the new stomach pouch.

In October 2014, she underwent a laparoscopic gastric bypasswith the same bariatric surgeon in Atlanta who removed her band.

Now, having tried out both types of surgical weight loss methods, here are a few things Wolinsky wishes she knew about gastric bypass and its side effects before she did it.

1. “The pain isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

From the outside, gastric bypass is more intense than lap band surgery: After all, they’re actually detaching a part of your digestive system. “I thought [it] would be a lot more painful and a lot longer recovery period,” says Wolinsky. “And while the recovery was longer, it wasn’t more painful. As far as surgeries I’ve had, it was pretty easy.”

2. “Being pumped full of air hurt the most.”

In any minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery (like gastric bypass), doctors don’t cut you wide open. Instead, they insert small surgical tools into a tiny incision and use a camera to operate from the outside. In order to see and maneuver around, they pump some carbon dioxide into your body around the part that’s being operated on. So in the case of gastric bypass, it’s pumped into your stomach and intestines. Although the gas is let out before the incision is closed, inevitably, a tiny bit gets trapped inside. So patients are asked to keep moving immediately after surgery to help the body move the air out. “Even though you just got out of surgery and you’re tired and in pain, you have to keep walking,” says Wolinsky. “You feel the air travel upward, toward your shoulder. It’s 10 times more painful than your body actually healing from surgery.” Working out all of the CO2 took a few days. “I’m really goal-oriented, so I just breathed deeply and thought about my goal to get through it,” she says.

3. “There was a tube hanging out of my stomach for a week.”

For a week after gastric bypass surgery, many patients have a bag hanging outside of the body connected to a thin tube attached to the stomach; this allows any excess fluids to drain from the abdomen, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. And every day you have to clean it, Wolinsky says. “It’s excruciatingly difficult,” she says. “It’s such a gross and painful feeling, knowing it’s attached to an organ in your body and you can see it.” Fortunately, Wolinsky’s aunt is a nurse and helped her to clean the port until it was removed.

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Gastric Bypass

35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery

America has an interesting fascination with celebrity. We build up certain people to be larger than life and then follow their every move and decision. The United States, as a country, also struggles with obesity and weight loss. Many celebrities also struggle with weight issues, and the famous people on this list have all undergone weight loss surgery to help start their weight loss journey.

From gastric bypass to the Lap-Band, many celebrities have had surgery to get started on a healthier lifestyle and achieve their weight loss goals. This list features famous celebrities who have had their stomachs stapled or have the Lap-Band.

Read through the list below to find out which famous people have had a weight loss procedure.

Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY

Sharon Osbourne underwent gastric bypass surgery in 1999.  In a recent interview, Osbourne explained that having the surgery made her feel like a cheat.  She had the band removed in 2006 and now maintains her weight with diet and exercise.

Age: 66

Birthplace: Brixton, London, United Kingdom

Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License

“American Idol” judge Randy Jackson had gastric bypass surgery in 2003.  He dropped over 100 lbs after having the procedure.  In 2008, Jackson announced that he suffers from type 2 diabetes.

Age: 62

Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Brian Dennehy

Brian Dennehy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

“Tommy Boy” actor Brian Dennehy reportedly had Lap-Band surgery in the early 2000s.

Age: 80

Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License

Roseanne Barr had gastric bypass surgery in 1998. She has been public about her decision to go under the knife. She jokes, “I had my entire digestive system removed, so I should look thinner.”

Age: 66

Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah

John Popper

John Popper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery
Photo: flickr/CC0

After suffering a near-fatal heart attack in 1999, Blues Traveler musician John Popper underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Age: 51

Birthplace: Chardon, Ohio

Star Jones

Star Jones is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 35+ Celebrities Who Had Weight Loss Surgery
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

Star Jones had gastric bypass surgery in 2003.  She did not admit to having the procedure until years later in an interview, at which point Jones had lost 160 pounds.

Age: 56

Birthplace: Badin, North Carolina

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