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Gastric bypass surgery: The ultimate solution to weight loss? 


gastric bypass surgeryGastric bypass surgery is considered for individuals who are morbidly obese, usually with a BMI of 40 or more, or less than 40 with significant complications related to the obesity.  In these cases, gastric bypass surgery may be recommended when individuals have tried other methods and have failed.  Two different types of procedures are commonly available including vertical banded gastroplasty and gastric bypass.  Another but less common type of operation is called gastric banding.  All of these operations facilitate the restriction of calories by reducing the size of the stomach, limiting the amount of food that can be consumed at one-time.  The gastric bypass surgery also causes interference in the digestive process (food bypasses part of the small intestine) and reduces caloric and nutrient absorption. 

Gastric bypass risks: 

The risks associated with gastric bypass surgery are similar to those of vertical banded gastroplasty.  Approximately 30% of bypass patients however, also develop nutritional deficiencies because many nutrients are normally absorbed in the upper part of the jejunum. 


Surgery Results: 

Gastric bypass surgery is most effective when patients receive dietary, exercise and behavioral instructions. These additional psychosocial interventions are always recommended with all of the most successful weight loss and weight maintenance programs.  This type of weight loss surgery leads to substantial reductions in weight, usually anywhere from 80 to 150 pounds, depending upon the starting weight, in the first year.  Some weight may be regained during the next two to five years.  Usually, vertical banded gastroplasty results in weight loss that is less than what may be expected from gastric bypass surgery.  Most of the complications of obesity improve: blood glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels fall; blood pressure is lowered; sleep apnea is illuminated; and arthritic pain is lessened.  One of the large advantages of this type of surgery is that it increases the chances that morbidly obese patients will lose enough weight to increase their life expectancy, by avoiding serious health-related complications related to obesity.  Gastric bypass surgery is highly specialized and should be performed only by skilled, experienced surgeons in hospitals with proven records for safety and efficacy.  Under these conditions, the risk of dying from gastric bypass surgery is less than 1%.  Complications such as nutritional deficiencies and vomiting occur in about 10% of the patients.

Information From The Johns Hopkins Medical Guide to Health After 50

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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