Gastric bypass surgery comes in many forms but the most popular are combination-techniques that shrink the stomach by stapling off a small section and shortening the small intestine by reattaching it at a lower point where fewer calories will be absorbed.
Gastric bypass surgery and other bariatric procedures were traditionally performed with large incisions but laparoscopes have changed that resulting in lowered risks of many potential complications. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a less-invasive technique involving several small incisions in the abdomen through which surgical instruments are inserted. The laparoscope (camera) is also inserted inside the abdomen so the surgeon can see.
The benefits of Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery are smaller scars, lower risk of hernias, and faster recovery compared to traditional large incision gastric bypass surgery. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery cannot be used, however, if the patient weighs over 500 pounds. A doctor may recommend a short-term weight loss procedure like mouth-wiring to lower the weight of the patient to 400 or less so laparoscopic bypass surgery can be performed.
As in any surgery for weight loss, potential candidates should remember that Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is not a miracle cure and will involve a 90-minute to 2-hour surgical procedure, a 3-6 week recovery time, and a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle. The risks of the surgery include infections, bleeding, and respiratory problems. It may be difficult to eat anything for the first few weeks after surgery without feeling uncomfortable and it will take 6-8 weeks before you are able to digest proteins or complex carbohydrates.
Patients who follow guidelines can reasonably expect to lose at least 50% of their excess weight over a 12-18 month period and have retained that weight-loss by at least 70% by ten years after the surgery.