Weight loss and healthy living are lifelong processes, and certainly not easy ones, especially for those who live with the disease of obesity.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight have positive effects on:
- Blood pressure
- Heart function
- Sleep habits
- Bone health
- Skin health
- Mental and emotional well-being
For some people who have tried to lose weight with no results, gastric bypass surgery may be an alternative, which often helps patients lose about 70 percent of their excess weight.
This weight loss surgery, performed at Norton Hospital and Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital, is known as the gastric bypass or distal Roux-En-Y gastric bypass. There are two components to this operation. First, the stomach is divided very close to its top, leaving a small pouch about the size of an egg. Second, the small bowel is divided and reconnected where it enters the large bowel. One end of the small bowel is then sewn to the stomach. After the operation, food comes down the esophagus into a tiny stomach pouch and then passes directly down to meet the digestive juices.
The procedure helps patients lose weight by decreasing the volume that may be eaten and, thus, absorbed by the body. Since there is only a small pouch of stomach that remains, the patient can eat very little and feel very full.
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, more than 100,000 gastric bypass procedures are performed in the United States each year. In some instances, this operation may be done through small incisions with a laparoscope. Aside from decreasing incision size, laparoscopic procedures usually lessen postoperative pain and may shorten a patient’s hospital stay.
Gastric bypass may not be performed laparoscopically in every patient, especially those with a high body mass index or those with extensive previous abdominal surgery. Safety, not incision size, is the prime concern during these operations.
Gastric bypass surgery is associated with more potential complications than gastric banding. Many of these complications can be severe. However, less than 1 percent of patients report or experience such problems. Patients should consult their doctor about the following risks and complications:
- Pulmonary embolus – a blood clot that can travel to the lung and cause death.
- Heart attack – occurs when the heart does not get enough blood.
- Stroke – occurs when the brain does not get enough blood.
- Leakage – possible at the point where the stomach and intestine are sewn together, or where the intestines are sewn together.
- Wound infection – possible after bariatric surgery, especially when the operations are done with a traditional open incision.
- Hernia – a bulge at the incision site; usually occurs only with open procedures.
- Stricture – abnormal tightening where the stomach and intestine are sewn together.
- Bleeding – a risk during any surgery and can be mild, requiring no treatment; moderate, requiring a transfusion; or heavy, requiring an operation to determine the source of the bleeding.
- Death - 1 to 2 percent of patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery will die.
For more information about Norton Weight Management Services or to schedule a free information session, call (800) 852-1770 or (502) 629-1234.