If you are severely overweight, you have probably heard the term “Gastric Bypass Surgery”. You may have even heard about this bariatric surgery, even if you are within the normal weight range, but this is probably due to the fact that it is the most common procedure used for weight loss. The surgery does sound appealing to many people, but you may not be aware that there are some serious posing health risks. Also the success of the surgery really depends on your ability to make permanent changes in your life and stick to them. In order to even be pre-approved for the procedure you must undergo a thorough evaluation and diagnostic testing.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Requirements
If you are morbidly obese with a secondary medical condition and a BMI over 35 or a BMI over 40 without a secondary diagnosis, you are eligible for bariatric surgery. Many individuals that are suffering secondary conditions related to obesity will be encouraged to lose weight, but sometimes this is easier said than done.
Some examples of secondary illnesses linked to obesity include cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and sleep apnea. These illnesses cannot be controlled or treated properly without successful weight loss. Millions of Americans are suffering from obesity with many of them being forced to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric Bypass Procedure
The gastric bypass procedure consists of two steps. The first step involves making the stomach smaller, which is done by using staples to divide the stomach into two sections. The upper section will be smaller and referred to as “the pouch”. This is where the consumed food will go, but it will only be about the size of a walnut and capable on only holding 1 ounce of food.This in return will aid in consuming less food and losing weight, in a much more efficient manner.
The second step known as “the bypass” is where the surgeon connects a small part of your small intestine to a small hole in the pouch. This step causes the food that you consume to travel from the pouch, to the new opening, and eventually into the small intestines. This whole process will cause your body to absorb fewer calories.
Risks Of Gastric Bypass Surgery
As mentioned above, while gastric bypass surgery may sound appealing, it can come with many risks. These risks can be very serious and if you are considering the procedure, you should take the time to discuss them with your medical physician before making your final decision.
- Potential risks for pulmonary embolism (traveling blood clot), but note that this is a risk that goes with any type of surgical procedure
- Blood loss
- It is possible you may suffer allergic reactions from the medications that you are administered
- Respiratory complications
- You may develop an infection where the incision is made or in the nearby organs (lungs, bladder, kidney)
- During or after the procedure, the risks of having a heart attack or stroke are higher
These risks are related to all types major surgeries that requires general anesthesia sedation.
Your gastrointestinal surgeon may prescribe you several nutritional supplements to take after the surgery. Since your caloric intake will be drastically reduced, your body will not receive the required vitamins and nutrients necessary for vitality.
- Folic acid – 400 micrograms daily
- Calcium – 1,200-2,000 milligrams TID (3 times daily)
- Vitamin D – 800-1,000 IU BID (twice daily)
Iron supplements may also be prescribed to prevent anemia (low RBC levels).
After surgery, you will be provided with a set of strict dietary guidelines that you must adhere to. Medical professionals created these guidelines to establish a daily caloric intake. Some of these guidelines may seem overwhelming at first, but it is imperative that diligently follow them to a tee.
- Well-balanced/low calorie diet
- Eat slowly, small bites, and chew food thoroughly
- 6 small meals a day
- You must record your daily food intake
- Avoid rice, raw fruits/veggies, and meats, because they are not easily chewed and will not breakdown completely
- Do not use a straw, drink carbonated beverages, or chew ice because this can cause air to form in your pouch
- Avoid sugary snacks
The first two months after the surgery, you will have to stick to a daily caloric intake of 300 to 600 calories. You should expect to lose around 10-20 monthly within the first year, but the weight loss will gradually taper off.