Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass surgery is one of the most time-tested and popular forms of weight loss surgery. The procedure is designed to reduce the size and capacity of the stomach, enabling patients to eat less before feeling full, absorb fewer calories, and lose significant amounts of weight. Our bariatric surgeon James N. Parrish, MD performs gastric bypass surgery with the laparoscopic technique. This method involves the use of very small incisions and special surgical instruments so that the procedure is less invasive than traditional gastric bypass techniques. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery typically leads to a quicker procedure, minimal scarring, and a more rapid recovery time.

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery can help patients who suffer from morbid obesity achieve a more slender physique and a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Parrish understands that obesity is a disease that can affect your entire physical and emotional well-being. That’s why he is committed to offering you comprehensive treatment and services that can address a number of issues you may encounter on the road to better health. In addition to an experienced weight loss surgeon, our staff consists of nutritionists, psychological counselors, and many other professionals who are here to help you through the weight loss process. Our program also offers support groups, free seminars, and aftercare services designed to help you make necessary lifestyle and dietary changes and ensure you are losing weight safely and effectively. Dr. Parrish and the entire team are here to help you on this exciting new journey, and we will assist you every step of the way.

Benefits of Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is known for its exceptional results in patients from all across the U.S. Benefits of this procedure include:

  • Many patients experience a loss of up to 60-70 percent excess body weight after just one year
  • Many patients have experienced a significant reduction and even complete elimination of comorbidities (health conditions related to obesity) including Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and depression. In fact, gastric bypass surgery has shown to cure Type II diabetes in at least 80 percent of patients who had the condition.
  • Procedure is designed to minimize scarring and surgery/recovery time

Gastric Bypass Vs. Gastric Sleeve: What Are the Differences?

Two of the most popular bariatric procedures are gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. These treatments have different benefits, and the right one for you may depend on several factors. Both techniques have similar recovery times and typical weight loss results, but the way they approach treatment is different. In gastric bypass surgery, Dr. Parrish will create a small pouch from the stomach and attach this to the small intestine. In gastric sleeve surgery, however, the stomach is reduced in size and a significant portion is removed, leaving only a small banana-shaped sleeve. Gastric bypass may better suit patients with very high body mass index (50 or higher), severe diabetes, or very bad GERD. Other considerations will apply, and Dr. Parrish will help you determine the right option for you at your initial consultation.

What Are the Gastric Bypass Requirements?

To be a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery, you should have already tried to lose weight through diet and exercise and been unable to find sustained success. Your body mass index should be 40 or higher, unless you suffer from serious weight-related health issues, in which case your BMI should be 35 or higher. While some young people may need bariatric surgery, we typically want patients to be 18 years of age or older, although special circumstances may apply. Your primary care physician and Dr. Parrish will both evaluate you to determine if weight loss surgery is in your best interest. Bariatric surgery requires significant changes in lifestyle, and you must be prepared for these challenges physically and psychologically. Of course, you’re not alone in this process. We will be with you every step of the journey toward improved health and greater well-being.

The Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery Procedure

Candidates for the laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure include patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40, or a BMI of 35 or higher with at least one obesity-related health condition. Dr. Parrish will begin the procedure by making several small (1/4 to ½ inch) incisions along the abdomen. He will separate a small portion of the stomach and attach it to the small intestine. When the small intestine is connected to the new, smaller stomach pouch, it creates a “Y” shape, which gives “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass surgery its name.

Your intake of food will be routed into this smaller stomach chamber and then directly into the lower intestine, thus “bypassing” the majority of the stomach. This action makes it possible to do two things: give you an earlier feeling of fullness at mealtimes (the stomach chamber will only be able to hold a few ounces of food at a time); and limit the calories normally absorbed by the body.

The laparoscopic gastric bypass also affects several hormones in the body, so that the sensation of hunger is decreased in between meals. Dr. Parrish will talk with you about all risks and benefits of this procedure at your initial consultation and help you determine whether this procedure is the best option for your needs.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Recovery and Aftercare

Gastric bypass surgery usually requires a two-night stay in the hospital. There will be some minimal discomfort after the procedure; however, it can be managed with medication. Most patients return to work after about a week, and more strenuous exercise can often be resumed after about one month. It is important to note that there will need to be significant lifestyle and dietary changes after this procedure. Dr. Parrish will schedule regular and life long follow-up appointments to ensure that you are losing weight safely and effectively.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Results

The success rate from gastric bypass surgery is very high – patients average about 60-70 percent reduction of excess weight, and many individuals reduce or completely eliminate obesity-related threats to their health. This is, of course, in addition to obtaining a slimmer appearance and a restored self-confidence. However, bariatric surgery is not a cure for obesity – it is only a tool to help you in your efforts to lose weight. The best chances of success lie in the combination of the initial surgery and your commitment to regular follow up including the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to accomplish your goals. We offer a comprehensive weight loss program and support system with lifetime follow-up to help you live a healthier life.

Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Have Side Effects?

Your stomach volume—the amount of food that can comfortably be held—will shrink considerably after the procedure. This helps you to feel full faster, but it’s important to manage portion control to ensure you do not stretch your stomach by repeatedly overeating. Some patients may experience side effects initially, such as nausea, which should fade with time. Other potential unwanted issues can develop if the proper diet is not adhered to, including dumping syndrome, bowel obstruction, and malnutrition. We will work closely with you to minimize the likelihood of side effects and allow you to achieve the optimal outcome. To avoid these concerns, be sure and follow your physician’s post-surgery guidelines as directed.

What Are the Complications Associated with Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Complications following gastric bypass surgery are unusual, but they can happen. It’s important to understand the possible risks so you are well-informed about your options. Vomiting, ulcers, bowel obstructions, malnutrition, low blood sugar, gallstones, diarrhea, dumping syndrome, and gastrointestinal leaks are some of the unlikely complications. Dr. Parrish has performed hundreds of these procedures, and he takes great care to provide the safest treatment possible using the latest minimally invasive techniques.

How Much Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Cost?

Medical insurance plans more and more often cover in full or in part the cost of bariatric surgery, including a gastric bypass. However, every insurance plan is different, and almost all forms of medical insurance require a patient to show they have made every effort to try to lose weight by other means first and failed. We will help you navigate the claims process, which is often long and complicated. Do not be discouraged—we are always here to assist you. In the event insurance does not cover your procedure or you choose to pay out of pocket, the price of gastric bypass surgery is around $17,000, and we offer competitive rates to help patients afford this life-changing operation. We also work with weight loss financing companies that offer appealing terms. We will discuss all of your options at your initial consultation and provide guidance as needed to assist you as best we can.

Are There Alternatives to Gastric Bypass Surgery?

If gastric bypass surgery is not right for you, there are a multitude of weight loss techniques available that may be a better fit for your needs and goals. Other surgical procedures include gastric sleeve surgery and gastric banding. We also offer a number of non-surgical techniques, including the ORBERA™ intragastric balloon and the Obalon® weight loss system. If you want to focus on traditional diet and exercise, we can also help steer you in the right direction to optimize your outcome. We believe everyone suffering from excess weight and obesity can attain a healthier lifestyle that leads to weight loss, and we will provide assistance so you can make the best decision for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

To help our patients make a well-informed decision about their healthcare options, Dr. Parrish has provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. If you would like to know more, please reach out to our skilled medical team to schedule a consultation.

How overweight do I need to be to qualify for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery?

There is no specific weight a patient must be; however, you should have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 to be considered a candidate for this procedure. Some patients can have a BMI of 35 or more if they also have at least one obesity-related medical condition, such as diabetes or gout, for instance. Dr. Parrish can provide additional details specific to your needs and goals during your initial consultation. It may be that another treatment will better suit you, in which case he can provide guidance.

How much weight will I lose with this procedure?

Your response to weight loss surgery may differ from someone else’s. That said, a bariatric procedure is considered successful if the patient loses at least 50 percent of their excess weight. For many people, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery can reduce as much as two thirds of a person’s excess weight. Your commitment to the nutrition and exercise plan will also play a role in how much weight you will lose. It’s unusual for someone to lose all of their excess weight from bariatric surgery; however, numerous health benefits are gained in addition to losing a significant portion of excess fat.  

How long will it take to lose the weight?

The time frame will vary from patient to patient, but weight loss often begins soon after the procedure and continues for 12-18 months after the operation. You may notice periods where weight loss occurs faster and then slows. Plateaus are not uncommon, but following your customized diet plan and exercise regimen will help you achieve the discussed outcome.

Will insurance cover the cost of treatment?

While many insurance companies recognize the benefits bariatric surgery can offer, every policy is different. You should confirm your coverage in advance, and we can help you navigate this process. In many cases the insurance company will require evidence that you have attempted other conservative weight loss options for a specified time period before granting coverage. We can discuss what these might be with you during your initial consultation.

What happens if I regain weight?

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery has an excellent history of long-term results. It’s important that you maintain your diet and exercise program for the rest of your life to help ensure your outcome is lasting. With care, you should experience minimal weight gain. In the event more substantial weight gain occurs, Dr. Parrish can discuss options with you.

Can Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery be reversed?

This bariatric procedure is designed to be permanent; however, technically, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery can be reversed in many cases. This is a rare event, and it will require another surgical procedure.

If you would like more information on laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, or if you would like to schedule a confidential consultation with Dr. Parrish to talk more about your weight loss treatment options, please contact our practice.