Gastric bypass surgery for the morbid obese can very well be a safe operation when performed by a competent bariatric surgeon and the proper preparation and selection of the patient is done. Gastric bypass is much more than just an operation; it is a process which involves an entire bariatric program. Patients enrolled in a certified bariatric program are required to complete evaluations and exams by several different medical professionals. Each evaluation is directed toward a safe and positive outcome of the operation.
The entire process of preparing a patient for gastric will take from six to eight months before the operation. First the patient is evaluated by a bariatric surgeon who will decide that the patient is a candidate for gastric bypass. The surgeon will recommend surgery only after more conservative weight loss measures have been taken. Next the patient will be evaluated by other medical specialists to rule out other medical conditions that are common in the morbid obese patients. This will include a cardiologist to evaluate the patient’s heart, a pneumologist to evaluate the patients lungs, an endocrinologist to evaluate the patient for diabetes and a gastroenterologist to evaluate and rule out other gastrointestinal conditions. Certain findings of these evaluations may also indicate the need for other medical specialties to evaluate the patient such as gynecologists, genitourologists or oncologists.
The process of preparing the patient for a safe gastric bypass operation also includes mental, emotional and psychosocial evaluation, treatment and education. Safe gastric bypass surgery involves a lifestyle change for the patient. Patients are required to become compliant with certain requirements after the surgery to avoid complications. Mentally and emotional unstable patients may not be able to make this drastic change and therefore may not be a candidate for safe gastric bypass. Patients who do not have the social support for the lifestyle changes are also not a candidate.
A nutritionist also plays a huge role in the preparation process both before and after the operation. Before the operation the patient is required to participate in a supervised diet program setup by the nutritionist. This is often required by most insurance companies before they will approve the operation. Patients will spend at least three months on this diet program and the results are recorded. If the patient is compliant and meeting weight loss targets, the nutritionist may want to forgo surgery and continue the diet plan. If not the second role of the nutritionist is to educated and regulate the patient’s diet after the surgery. After a gastric bypass surgery, a patient physically cannot consume the amount of food as before. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy nutritional state they must learn what specific foods and nutritional supplements they will need to stay healthy. This is an important part of the process to make gastric bypass safe.
Gastric bypass surgery is indeed a safe operation, but only when the entire process is completed. Although most any general surgeon is able to perform the gastric bypass surgery only a qualified bariatric surgeon can perform the operation is the safest manner with the most optimal outcome for the patient.