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What is Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery?

By L. Hepfer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a type of surgery performed on people who are considered to be morbidly obese, and have severe health issues. It is usually the last resort used to help the patient lose weight in an attempt to regain their health and live a longer life. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery changes the way food travels through the digestive system, and limits the amount of food that the body can hold at one time.

A person who weighs more than 100 pounds (45.36 kilograms) over their ideal body weight is considered morbidly obese. Obesity causes life threatening diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis. Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects people who suffer from obesity. Sleep apnea causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while they are asleep, limiting the amount of rest their body receives, further taking its toll on the person's health.

Before a person undergoes laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, they must undergo a series of tests and evaluations. The cardiovascular, endocrine and pulmonary systems are checked thoroughly to make sure the person has a good chance of survival post surgery. A psychological evaluation is performed to see if the patient is prepared for this life changing experience. Proper diet and exercise after the surgery is required in order for the weight loss to occur. After the thorough evaluations are completed, the physician will then consider the pros and cons of laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery on an individual basis, and proceed with what he feels is best for the patient.

During the surgery, the surgeon creates a small pouch approximately the size of a person's thumb at the top of the stomach. A bypass is then created around the person's stomach. The pouch is then attached to the small intestine, redirecting all the food that enters the body, sending it to the latter part of the small intestine. This process limits the total amount of calories that the body is able to absorb.

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is performed using a laparoscope to see inside the person's body during the surgery. The laparoscope is a small tube-like instrument that has a camera attached to the end of it. It is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen, and the surgeon performs the surgery while watching it on a television screen in the operating room. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery has its benefits as opposed to having an open gastric bypass surgery. Creating smaller incisions means the patient will have a quicker healing time, a shorter hospital stay, and fewer side effects.

Most patients experience little to no post surgery complications. After a short hospital stay, the patient is sent home with periodic visits to the physician for observation and to keep track of the patient's progress with weight loss. A dietitian makes sure the patient knows the proper diet and exercise needed to follow to adapt to their new lifestyle. Once the weight loss is successful, plastic surgery is usually needed to remove the extra folds of skin left hanging from the body.

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