Gastric Bypass Main Content

two nurses in with masks and head covers standing in a hospital hallways

Gastric bypass surgery has a remarkable potential for weight loss. The procedure is also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and is the gold-standard bariatric surgical procedure in the United States during the past 50 years.

How Gastric Bypass Works

Gastric bypass combines restriction and malabsorption to achieve weight loss. It works by making a small stomach pouch about the size of a golf ball. The surgeon then bypasses part of the small intestine and attaches a section of the newly routed small intestine directly to the small stomach. Food consumption is restricted by the size of the remaining stomach pouch and malabsorption occurs because part of the small intestine is bypassed. As a result, fewer calories are absorbed into the body, resulting in significant weight loss.

Typical Results of Gastric Bypass

  • Generally gastric bypass patients lose 60% to 70% of their excess body weight
  • Diabetes is estimated in up to 80% of patients and improved in almost 90%, often within days or weeks of surgery
  • High cholesterol is reduced in more than 70% of patients
  • Hypertension is resolved in more than 75% of patients

Risks and Considerations

  • Gastric bypass is the most technically complex of the major bariatric surgical procedures since it cuts part of the stomach and reroutes the intestine
  • The risk of complications and a longer recovery time may be higher with other procedures, although still uncommon
  • A condition known as dumping syndrome may occur from eating high fat or high sugar foods
  • Patients will have to supplement their diets with multivitamins, calcium, vitamins B12 and iron
  • Patients cannot have aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs after gastric bypass

Recovery and Aftercare

On average, you will remain in the hospital for two days after gastric bypass surgery. After discharge, you will be required to stay on a liquid-only diet for up to two weeks and then can start consuming soft foods for another two weeks. Eating regular food, in moderation, will be possible within four weeks of surgery.

Going back to work will depend on the type of work, patient’s general health and recovery time, and therefore can vary. Typically, you will be able to return to work between two to three weeks after surgery.

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Related Articles, Locations, or Other Information

Other Weight Loss Procedures We Offer

It’s important to understand all of your surgical options. You can read about our other procedures and compare the advantages and risks of each.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

The sleeve gastrectomy is the most common procedure for morbid obesity as of 2013. It has been available in the U.S. for around 10 years.

Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND®)

LAP-BAND® and Realize® are two commonly used trade names for gastric banding systems. Adjustable gastric banding procedures are considered to be the least invasive bariatric surgery option, but the potential for long-term weight loss may be lower.