What is Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?

There is actually more than one type of gastric bypass surgery. The most popular is Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This procedure makes weight loss possible in two ways, restriction and malabsorption. To understand how it works, remember that normal digestion has food pass through the stomach and then into the small intestine, where most calories and nutrients are absorbed.

How is the surgery performed?

In Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, surgeons use a small part of the stomach to create a new stomach pouch. This new pouch is about the size of an egg. Next, the surgeon connects the new stomach pouch directly to the middle portion of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. The smaller stomach pouch restricts the amount of food required to feel full, and the bypassing of most of the small intestine leads to malabsorption of calories and nutrients, adding to the potential for weight loss.

This procedure is generally performed Laparoscopically unless otherwise discussed with your surgeon.

Surgeons with the Obesity Center for Surgery & Treatment routinely perform Roux-en-Y gastric bypass minimally-invasively using a laparoscopic approach. They make very small incisions for surgical instruments and a camera to guide the surgery.

Many patients choose gastric bypass because it allows them to lose weight faster compared to other weight loss surgeries. Our physicians and staff are always willing to talk with you about the benefits and risks of all surgical options to help you decide which will be best for you.

What Happens After Surgery?

There will be some pain around incisions, and patients are prescribed pain medicine to relieve this pain.

Patients will also receive specific instructions about what to eat after the surgery. For about the first month, patients will be guided from a liquid diet to a pureed diet. It will be important to sip water throughout the day to avoid becoming dehydrated. Commonly, patients notice their bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Some patients also experience a condition known as dumping syndrome. This can happen when foods high in fat and sugar empty too quickly into the small intestine, causing diarrhea, nausea and shakiness.

Over time, patients can add solid foods back into their diet, always being careful to chew food well and to stop eating when feeling full. Patients who continue to overeat will experience stretching of their new stomach pouch, and they will not benefit from the surgery.

It is important to understand that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, like all weight loss surgeries, is not a magic pill.

Because Roux-en-Y gastric bypass includes malabsorption, patients may experience a deficiency of iron, calcium and magnesium. To prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, patients are scheduled to work with our dietitian to plan meals and may need to take extra supplements of vitamins.

On average, people lose more than half of their excess weight following Roux-en-Y surgery. The long-term success is highest in people who keep appointments with a medical team, and follow the recommended eating plan.