Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

Last updated date: 15-Aug-2023

Originally Written in English

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

Laparoscopic gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), is normally considered a golden standard for weight loss surgery. It works by limiting the amount of food consumption by reducing food absorption in the digestive system. A small pouch similar in size to the flexible gastric band limits food intake. 

Furthermore, food absorption in the digestive system is limited by exempting most duodenum, upper intestine, and stomach from coming into contact with food. This is done by directly directing food from the pouch into the small intestine. Doctors often perform gastric bypass laparoscopically through incisions. They also recommend the procedure if other methods to lose weight, including exercise and dieting, are not effective. 


Why Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass is performed 

The primary aim of performing gastric bypass is to help cut off excess weight. It also minimizes the risks of possible fatal weight-related medical conditions such as; 

  • Cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Typically, one can only undergo laparoscopic gastric bypass after attempting to cut off weight by adjusting the diet and through exercise habits. 


Who Can Undergo Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass?

Generally, laparoscopic gastric bypass might be the best weight loss alternative for you if; 

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 and above. This is usually considered extreme obesity 
  • You have a BMI ranging between 35 to 39.9 (obesity)
  • You have a chronic weight-related medical condition, including high blood pressure, serious sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. 
  • You can qualify for particular weight loss types of surgery in certain situations if you have a BMI ranging from 30 to 34 and suffering from chronic weight-associated health issues. 

In general, laparoscopic gastric bypass is not suitable for every person who is extremely overweight. To be eligible for this weight-loss surgery, you will have to meet some medical criteria. Furthermore, the doctor is likely to subject you to a rigorous screening procedure to determine if you qualify. 

Before undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass, you should be ready to make long-term adjustments in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Long-term follow-up arrangements that comprise observing your diet, lifestyle, activities, and medical problems may be necessary. 


What Happens Before Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass?

Before undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass, the doctor will first schedule an appointment where you will further discuss the procedure. You should expect the followinglaparoscopic gastric bypass steps before the procedure; 

  • A thorough physical examination
  • Blood testing and examination and an ultrasound of the gallbladder, among other tests, will be performed. This is to ensure that you are in good condition to undergo surgery. 
  • Visits to your personal doctor to ensure that all other medical conditions you have are in control. These conditions can include; high blood pressure, heart condition, lung problems, or asthma. 
  • Nutrition or diet counseling 
  • Learning programs enable you to understand what takes place during surgery, what to expect afterward, and the complications or problems that can arise. 
  • Visiting a psychologist to ensure that you are emotionally fit and ready to undergo surgery. You should be able to make substantial lifestyle changes following surgery. 

In case you are a smoker, you need to quit a few weeks before the operation and don’t smoke again afterward. This is because smoking delays the healing process and increases the likelihood of developing complications. Inform the doctor or caregiver if you require any assistance in quitting. 

Also, you should inform the doctor if you are or suspect to be pregnant. It’s equally essential to tell them about the medications, herbs, supplements, and vitamins you are currently using, including over-the-counter drugs. 

A few days before surgery, the doctor might ask you to stop using the blood thinners. This is because they can interfere with the blood clotting process. They include ibuprofen, aspirin, and warfarin, among others. On the other hand, you should inquire about the medications you can continue taking even on the operation day. 


What Happens During Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery? 

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery Procedure

Just before surgery, you will first receive a general anesthesia drug to make you unconscious and relaxed during the operation. 

The process of gastric bypass is determined by your condition as well as the practices of the doctor. Other operations are conducted through wide or open incisions in the abdomen.

Nonetheless, most surgeries are done laparoscopically, which includes placing instruments via several minor incisions in the belly. After laparoscopically creating incisions, the surgeon slices through the top of the stomach. He or she will then seal it off from the other sections of the stomach. The pouch that results is almost the size of a walnut and will only accommodate nearly an ounce of food. Usually, the stomach holds around 3 pints of food.  

After that, the surgeon will slice the small intestine and stitch a section of it straight into the pouch. Food will then enter this narrow pouch of the stomach and directly go into the small intestine, which is stitched to it. The food bypasses the majority of the stomach, including the first portion of the small intestine. It then goes straight into the middle region of the small intestine. 

The entire laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery often lasts for a few hours. Immediately the operation is complete, the care team will transfer you into the recovery room, where you will awaken. They will also watch over you for any complications that might arise.


What to Expect After Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass 

You can take only fluid but not solid food immediately after surgery until the intestines and stomach recover. Gradually, you will adopt a special diet schedule that involves transitioning slowly from liquid meals to pureed foods. With time, you may start consuming soft foods before progressing to firmer foods when the body is capable of enduring them.

The doctor will give you various guidelines or limitations on the amount and what you should consume and drink during laparoscopic gastric bypass recovery time. In most cases, they will advise you to use vitamin and mineral supplements following surgery. This can include multivitamins containing iron, vitamin B-12, and calcium. 

For the first few months following weight-loss surgery, you will have routine medical checkups to examine your health state. If necessary, you might require laboratory tests, bloodwork, and other examinations.

At times, you might experience certain adjustments as the body responds to the drastic weight loss. This usually happens during the first 3 to 6 months after laparoscopic gastric bypass. These changes can include; 

  • Body aches 
  • Feeling exhausted, as if you have a flu 
  • Freezing or feeling extremely cold 
  • Hair thinning and loss 
  • Mood shifts
  • Skin dryness  


Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Results 

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Results 

Gastric bypass surgery can result in long-term weight loss. Normally, the amount of weight you lose is based on the form of surgery you undergo and the lifestyle adjustments you make. You might be able to lose up to 70 percent of the overall body weight or more in a span of two years. 

Apart from weight loss, laparoscopic gastric bypass can help enhance or overcome conditions commonly associated with obesity, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disorder 
  • Diabetes type 2 
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • High blood pressure 
  • High levels of cholesterol 
  • Infertility 
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Stroke 

In addition, gastric bypass surgery can also enhance the ability to carry out normal activities. Eventually, this contributes to improved quality of life.


Risks of Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery 

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a major surgical procedure that carries various risks of complications. Some of the risks are common and manageable, while others are severe. As such, it’s essential to discuss with the doctor the possible side effects before you undergo the operation. 

The general anesthesia and laparoscopic gastric bypass complications can include; 

  • Adverse reaction to the anesthesia drug 
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Infection on the incision wound 
  • Excessive bleeding 
  • Formation of blood clots 
  • Cardiac problems 

On the other hand, some of the risks associated with gastric bypass can include; 

  • Injury or damage to the intestines, stomach, or other inner organs during the procedure 
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), stomach ulcers, or heartburn 
  • Leakage from the lining in which the sections of the stomach have been sewn together 
  • Formation of scars in the abdomen that might result in bowel blockage over time 
  • Vomiting after consuming excess food more than the stomach pouch can contain 
  • Poor nutrition 

You should, however, note that these risks and complications of laparoscopic gastric bypass are rarely fatal. Even so, it’s still vital to discuss with the medical provider as this could help prevent some side effects. 


Laparoscopic gastric bypass is the most common weight loss procedure that most overweight individuals often opt for. The initial purpose of gastric bypass is to help reduce excess weight by limiting food absorption in the digestive tract. However, it is also helpful in addressing certain health conditions associated with obesity. 

While gastric bypass surgery is an effective way of cutting off weight, it also carries several risks and complications. Therefore, it’s essential to conduct thorough research concerning the procedure. You can also consult your medical provider for more guidance.