Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a medical procedure designed to assist individuals struggling with obesity. The surgery involves a skilled abdominal surgeon creating a new, smaller gastric pouch by surgically detaching it from the main stomach. This new pouch serves as a bypass for food, allowing it to skip a portion of the stomach and a section of the small intestine, typically spanning around 1.5 to 2 meters.
As a result of this bypass, food enters the newly formed small pouch with a reduced capacity of approximately 30 to 50 ml, bypassing the larger stomach and a portion of the small intestine. This alteration causes a delay in the digestive process as the gastric and pancreatic juices initiate digestion at a later stage, leading to decreased absorption of certain nutrients.
While food follows its usual path through the intestines, it initially enters the smaller gastric pouch. By reducing the volume of the stomach, the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin decreases, causing the patient to feel full more quickly. Additionally, fewer nutrients are absorbed due to the bypassing of a portion of the small intestine. Collectively, these changes contribute to the formation of new and healthier eating habits. As a result, most patients typically experience a weight loss of approximately 60-70% of their excess weight within the first two years after the surgery.
Who is eligible for this surgery?
- Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 35 kg/m2. This procedure is considered when traditional methods of treatment, such as increased physical activity or dietary adjustments, fail to produce desired results.
- The surgery can have a profound impact on both the quality of life and overall health of the patient. Obesity carries an increased risk of various obesity-related conditions, including reflux, cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, and more.
- It is important to note that although laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, it is still a surgical intervention. Therefore, proper preparation includes an evaluation of the patient’s overall physical condition and identification of potential risk factors that may affect the outcomes negatively.
Getting ready for operation
- The preoperative assessment of each patient is tailored to their individual health condition. Prior to the surgery, a range of tests are conducted, including a comprehensive blood test, a biochemical blood test (measuring levels of potassium, sodium, creatinine, blood glucose, CRB, and albumin), liver function tests, cholesterol fractionation test, glycosylated hemoglobin test, blood clotting readings (SPA, DATL, INR), micronutrient tests (such as calcium and iron), and vitamin tests (including folic acid, vitamin B12, and 25-OH vitamin D).
- Additionally, all patients are required to undergo an electrocardiogram. Other non-invasive cardiac tests may be recommended based on individual risk factors, medical history, and physical examination findings. Consulting an endocrinologist is also advisable. Furthermore, gastroscopy and testing for the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria are necessary. If the test results are positive, treatment and eradication of ulcers and polyps are carried out.
- A nutritionist provides specific dietary guidelines that must be followed when preparing for laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery. The patient is expected to adhere to these instructions diligently. Depending on the individual’s dietary needs, calorie reduction may be required, along with an emphasis on consuming foods rich in protein and fiber, such as legumes, lean meats, and fish.
- Furthermore, it is recommended to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine for approximately four weeks prior to the operation.
What to expect from this surgery?
- The surgical procedure is conducted using general anesthesia to ensure the patient remains free of pain and discomfort. State-of-the-art technology is employed, utilizing a modern laparoscope equipped with an integrated high-definition video camera and other specialized instruments.
- Typically, 5-6 small incisions measuring 5-20 mm in length are made in order to introduce the specialized camera and surgical instruments into the abdominal cavity. The upper portion of the stomach is meticulously separated and secured with sutures to disconnect it from the remaining portion of the stomach. Subsequently, a segment of the small intestine is attached to this newly formed stomach to establish a bypass. As a result, food solely enters the smaller stomach, bypassing the lower section and a portion of the small intestine.
What to expect after the surgery?
- Following the surgery, the patient will be scheduled for a consultation with a nutritionist to establish a suitable diet plan. The success of the operation and the healing process depend on the diligent adherence to these dietary guidelines.
- As the procedure is minimally invasive, the incisions on the skin will typically heal within a couple of weeks. During this recovery period, you can gradually resume your normal activities. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that your stomach will continue to heal for approximately 6-8 weeks following the surgery. Therefore, it is essential to strictly follow the prescribed diet and rest regimen provided by your doctor.
- Scarring resulting from laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is minimal due to the utilisation of laparoscope technology, which ensures the procedure is minimally invasive. The surgery does not cause significant damage to the surrounding tissues. Consequently, the scars left behind are small, fade rapidly, and become virtually indiscernible over time.
To achieve the best possible outcomes, it is advisable to undergo a series of personalised lymph drainage massages following your surgery. Amber Surgery clinic in Dublin provides post-operation clients with lymphatic massages at discounts of up to 50% (bookings available from 23rd of June)