Stomach bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, is a type of bariatric (weight loss) surgery that involves making a small pocket out of a patient’s stomach. Surgery has many potential benefits, including improving (even reversing) health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

That said, gastric bypass surgery is not a “cure” for obesity or a magic wand. To maintain weight loss, patients must commit to a healthy diet and exercise throughout their lives.

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Benefits of Surgery:

The primary benefit of gastric bypass surgery is significant weight loss with subsequent alleviation of obesity-related health problems.

Although not an exhaustive list, some diseases that can be cured or at least improved by surgery include:

Stomach bypass surgery has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In addition, patients report improved energy levels, body image / appearance satisfaction, and quality of life.

Possible future surgeries

While gastric bypass surgery is generally considered safe, future surgeries may be indicated if certain postoperative complications occur.

Examples of such complications include:

  • Marginal ulcer formationA marginal ulcer is like a peptic ulcer. It can form near the place where the stomach sac and small intestine are connected during gastric bypass. Surgery may be prescribed if the ulcer is punctured (a bowel opening occurs) or if the patient has persistent pain or bleeding despite medical therapy.
  • Cutting hernia formation. An incisional hernia, which is an abnormal opening in the abdominal wall, can occur after bypassing the stomach. Surgery may be ordered immediately if the patient is in severe pain or has a small bowel obstruction.
  • Late onset dumping syndrome: Dumping syndrome occurs when food is rapidly transferred from the stomach to the small intestine, causing nausea and abdominal pain. Symptoms do not improve with dietary changes և medication, bariatric review surgery may be required.

Another indication for possible future surgery (particularly bariatric screening surgery) is if the patient is unable to lose weight. This complication is rare and is usually due to poor eating habits that begin after surgery.

Weight recovery, which occurs in up to 20% of patients, is an indicator of bariatric surgery.Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness.

  • Inadequate eating և lifestyle changes after surgery
  • Development of gastrointestinal fistula, when an abnormal tract develops between the new pouch of the stomach, the remnants of the old stomach.
  • Advanced stretching and enlargement of the new stomach pouch
  • Expansion of the connection between the gastric pouch and the small intestine (called a gastroesophageal anastomosis)

Finally, due to excessive loosening of the skin, patients may decide to have surgery after losing weight after gastric bypass surgery.

Lifestyle adjustments

Approximately 80% of patients lose more than 70% of their excess body weight within two years after laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery.To maintain this weight loss after surgery, patients need to follow several lifestyle practices.

Eat and drink right

Patients will be discharged from the hospital on a full liquid diet with protein shakes. They usually continue a full liquid diet for about two weeks or until their first postoperative appointment. After that, they will move on to a soft diet և eventually to a diet consistent with regular food. During this time, it is important for patients to stay hydrated by drinking about 60 ounces of water a day.

Oral food tolerance guidelines for food or lifelong nutrition that the patient should follow include:

  • Include protein in each meal according to daily requirements, which is about 60 grams. To meet this requirement, you may need a protein shake or a low-calorie protein meal (such as low-fat yogurt).
  • Stop eating when you are full.
  • Do not drink for at least 30 minutes before eating.
  • Drink about 60 ounces of water a day to prevent weight loss
  • Avoid all carbonated beverages (bubbles can irritate the stomach) և Foods that contain sugar or fat.
  • Daily intake of multivitamin with calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin C և vitamin B12)

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise (five to seven days a week) after surgery is necessary to burn fat, maintain muscle strength, control appetite, and reduce stress. Many patients benefit from working with a fitness trainer or physiotherapist to help them find enjoyable, long-term physical activity, be it hiking, swimming or dancing.

Joining the support team

Many bariatric surgery programs offer postoperative support groups to help patients cope after surgery.Joining a group (in person or online) can help patients stay true to new lifestyle habits (which may seem daunting at first but eventually become secondary). Support groups can also provide emotional support, as well as extended contact and access to health care professionals if questions or concerns arise.

See your doctor regularly

Even after recovering from surgery, patients may be referred to their bariatric surgeon, a primary care physician as directed (usually every three months, six months, and then annually).

The purpose of these visits is:

  • Evaluate for possible long-term surgical complications associated with surgery
  • Monitor for nutritional deficiencies through blood tests (accepted at least once every six months)
  • Monitor chronic health և adjust medications as needed
  • Monitor the patient’s weight loss progress (weight loss may continue for up to two years after surgery)

Women of childbearing age should consult their primary care physician or gynecologist to discuss contraceptive options. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that people become pregnant within the first 12-18 months after bariatric surgery.

Word from Verywell

For many patients, gastric bypass surgery is the beginning of a life they have been dreaming of for years. However, although surgery is a reliable way to achieve significant weight loss, it is only the first step. Patients need to be proactive, committed to their care, and to their daily routine.