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Weight Loss Operations: Gastric Bypass

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

The most common gastric bypass operation performed in the UK is the Roux-en-Y procedure. This involves separating the top part of the stomach with a line of staples to create a small pouch. A new exit is then made from this pouch, which is joined close to the end of the small intestine.

This means food bypasses most of the stomach and small intestine. As a result, less food can be eaten comfortably and fewer calories are absorbed.

Like the gastric band, this procedure tends to be carried out using keyhole surgery but involves 4-5 nights in hospital. It can also be carried out by normal surgery for people who are very obese where keyhole surgery may not be suitable.

This operation has more risks and complications attached to it than a gastric band. Statistics reveal there is a one in 100 chance of dying during the surgery itself. Plus complications can happen after surgery, for example, developing a leak from the join between the stomach and the small intestine, development of a hernia or nutrient deficiencies due to the poor absorption of nutrients.

Weight loss is normally greater than with a gastric band – studies show that on average, people lose between 66 and 75 percent of their excess weight.

As with a gastric band operation, you will need to dramatically change your diet, starting with fluids only for the first week, then progressing to puréed food for the next three weeks and mashed food for the next two weeks. You will also need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for life as the surgery affects the absorption of these nutrients.

For more information read Juliette's Weight Loss Surgery Info.

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