Gastric bypass surgery is considered a form of bariatric surgery, a field that deals with weight loss and obesity. Today, gastric bypass is generally performed using a technique called Roux-en-Y. This procedure reduces the size of the stomach to create a pouch that accepts no more than an ounce or so of food at a time. A small opening between the stomach and intestine allows food to travel directly to the large intestine. Gastric bypass surgery literally bypasses the bulk of the stomach and encourages massive weight loss in obese individuals.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Gastric Bypass?
Generally, any individual the age between 15 and 50 years is a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery if they are relatively healthy. The procedure is typically reserved for those who are more than 75 pounds overweight and have a body mass index of 40 to 50 or 35 to 39 with a life threatening co morbidity factor.
Candidates for this type of surgery must be willing to undergo drastic lifestyle changes and eating habits in order to gain the optimal benefits of this procedure. Following surgery, patients are cautioned to not drink liquids with meals or within 30 minutes prior to or following a meal. Very small quantities of food are ingested at a time, which should consist of meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. It is also essential that gastric bypass patients take multivitamin supplements.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Technique
A surgeon will decide exactly how the operation will be performed, based on individual anatomy and general health condition. Generally, a surgery will be performed via laparoscopy. Laparoscopic surgery involves the use of a tubular, thin telescope equipped with a high-resolution video camera that can see inside the abdomen. The use of this instrument is beneficial, as it requires a very small incision, which leads to faster healing time and less discomfort for the patient.
Laparoscopic gastric bypass using the Roux-en-Y technique is generally performed in three different steps:
The procedure generally takes up to two hours, but requires only a two-day stay in the hospital and a relatively quick recovery period.
Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery enables individuals who have not responded to typical diet and exercise treatments to lose massive amounts of weight. In most cases, patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are able to lose up to 80% of their excess body weight in one year. Because nearly 95% of weight related health problems, called co morbidities, include high blood pressure, diabetes, incontinence, and GeRD, many patients find that such conditions have also been alleviated or eradicated as a result of the surgery.
How Much Does It Cost?
In the United States, gastric bypass surgery using the Roux-en-Y technique may cost as much as $25,000, depending on individualized cases. Many insurance companies in the United States now cover gastric bypass surgery, but many don't. Medical tourists traveling to foreign destinations discover that gastric bypass surgery costs much less. For example, the same technique performed in India costs roughly $16,500; while in medical travel destinations in South America, costs may hover around $10,000 and often time include all-inclusive stay benefits.
Who Performs Gastric Bypass Surgery?
A bariatric surgeon with knowledge and experience in laparoscopy techniques and procedures generally performs gastric bypass surgery. Prospective patients are always advised to check on the credentials and training of their physician, surgeon, and hospital facility before signing on the dotted line. This can be done by contacting medical associations, organizations and boards of surgeons in the country of origin.
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