Gastric Bypass surgery is intended as a way to lose a great deal of weight, as quickly as possible, where the patient is classified as morbidly obese (when the Body Mass Index or BMI is 40 or above), and where the health benefits of losing weight outweigh the risks of surgery.
It should only be considered following advice from a medical professional, and after a proper exercise and dietary program has been tried and found unsuccessful for weight loss, and where your weight is dangerous for your health.
The results from a gastric bypass can be fast and quite extraordinary, with the average weight loss for patient being around 40kg within the first 36 months.
The cost of getting Gastric Bypass surgery is generally very high, and many people, particularly from the US choose to travel abroad for their Bariatric Bypass surgery, as it can be much cheaper, due to infrastructure costs.
For example, in Europe, Gastric Bypass Surgery costs between 20% and 50% less if you get your surgery abroad in the Czech Republic, Belgium or Romania.
In South America, the best prices are often found in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Argentina. Thailand, India, South Africa and Turkey are also all known to have excellent Bariatric surgeons, who can also provide overseas weight loss surgery at a much lower price.
Generally, to qualify for weight loss surgeries such as a gastric bypass, you should be classifiable as morbidly obese. That is, with a BMI of 40 or above.
However, if you have a BMI of 35 or above, but also have a serious co-existing medical condition that is caused by your weight, such as diabetes, the weight loss surgery may also be recommended.
Of course, a proper diet and exercise program should have first been attempted.
There are several types of Gastric Bypass surgery, but the most common is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
This works by a combination of making the stomach smaller (Restrictive procedure) and making the stomach less able to absorb food (Malabsorbtive procedure).
This is how the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass works:
First, the stomach is stapled or banded, to divide it into two smaller parts. Then the small intestine, which carries food from your stomach is cut away, separating it from the lower part of your stomach. Finally, the small intestine is reattached to the top stomach pouch, resulting in a much smaller stomach, that is only able to hold about an ounce of food.
The procedure for Gastric Bypass surgery can be performed as open surgery, where one incision is made through the abdomen.
It can also be performed Laparoscopically, also known as Lap or keyhole surgery, with several smaller cuts.
The risks of Laparoscopic gastric surgery are generally regarded as being lesser, as compared to open Bariatric surgery.
The Mini Gastric Bypass is also becoming extremely popular with both Bariatric surgeons and patients alike.
Gastric dumping, which can include diarrhoea is relatively common, and leaks or hernias where incisions were made are a risk.
Also, as with any surgery, infections can be a danger. Risks are also higher if the patent has open as opposed to Laparoscopic surgery.
Naturally, you must discuss the risks of gastric bypass surgery with your surgeon.
However, research has found that the benefits outweighs the risks for dangerously obese people, with the mortality rate from related diseases lowered, and improved blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetic control.
The gastric bypass procedure can be expected to take at least an hour, and sometimes much longer.
A general anaesthetic will be used, so you will not be conscious during surgery.
It is common for Gastric Bypass patients to take dietary supplements for the rest of their lives, because the reduced absorbtion of nutrients means that malnutrition is a risk.
Gallstones (hard lumps that grow in the gallbladder) are another complication. They can quite commonly result from rapid weight-loss. Because of this, your surgeon may remove your gallbladder during your gastric bypass surgery.
An average of weight loss of around 40kg over the first 36 months is to be expected after Gastric Bypass surgery.
The cost of getting gastric bypass surgery is undeniably high, so many people choose to get surgery abroad.
Pretty much anywhere in the world is cheaper than the US, but popular locations are Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina and Panama, where it is possible to save up to 70%. Gastric Bypass surgery is also much cheaper in Canada, so some US citizens go there to get the best prices.
In Europe, Greece, Belgium and the Czech Republic charge much lower prices as well, and have some excellent clinics, while further afield India, Vietnam and Thailand are popular choices for cheaper Gastric Bypass surgery abroad.